Diabetes 101.

First, let’s understand what diabetes is. There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 (also called juvenile diabetes), which is an autoimmune condition that causes the body to attack the pancreas with antibodies. The pancreas is therefore unable to create insulin.

Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is the most common type of diabetes. About 90 to 95% of people with diabetes have this type. In this case, the pancreas still creates insulin but cells do not respond. It is called insulin resistance.

What exactly is insulin?
Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows your body to use carbs (sugar) found in the food that you eat for energy, or to store this glucose for future use. Insulin keeps your blood sugar level from getting to high (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia).

Type 2 diabetes is one of the most dangerous chronic diseases. It can lead to other health issues when it’s not handled correctly. The most common health complications due to diabetes are kidney disease, blindness, gangrene, nerve damage, and in the worst case, death.

Thankfully, simple lifestyle changes can prevent or completely reverse Type 2 diabetes.

Causes of type 2 diabetes.

There are many fundamental causes of type 2 diabetes. It usually develops because of a combination of different factors, including:

  • Being overweight
  • Poor diet
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • High levels of inflammation
  • Stress
  • Family history of diabetes or heart disease
  • Hormonal condition like hyperthyroidism, polycystic ovary syndrome or Cushing’s syndrome
  • High blood pressure
  • Taking certain medication that disrupts insulin production
  • Smoking

7 easy tips to prevent or even reverse type 2 diabetes.

Because most of type 2 diabetes’ factors are lifestyle-related, simple changes are enough to manage the disease.

1. Change your diet.

You need to lower your sugar intake. And I don’t mean only the chocolate bars, soft drinks and cookies. They obviously contribute to high levels of sugar, but you also have to reduce the starchy and refined foods you consume during the day: bread, rice, pasta, potatoes. Especially the “white” kinds.

Instead, you can eat brown rice, quinoa, lean proteins, vegetables (all of them!), healthy fats like fish, avocado, oils, seeds and nuts, dairy (but good quality!).

Stay away from processed, packaged food that are indeed extremely convenient but at the same time so so bad for your health.

You might want to eat less red meat. According to an article from Harvard School of Public Health, the high iron content of red meat makes insulin less effective and could even damage the pancreas. Studies have found that those who stopped eating red or processed meat like bacon lowered their diabetes risk by 35%.

You can also consider going vegan. This diet can seem a bit extreme for some people, but it might help rebalance blood sugar. According to Diabetes Spectrum, 43% of diabetics who follow a vegan diet reduced their medication, compared to 26% for those who followed a conventional diet.

2. Use natural remedies

You can find simple natural remedies in your pantry to keep your diabetes under control. An easy way to implement them is to add them to your food on a daily basis.

  • Cinnamon: it is said to boost insulin sensitivity. In a study, test subjects with type 2 diabetes were given 1 to 6 gm of cassia cinnamon powder for 40 days. Their fasting serum glucose went down by 18 to 29%. What a yummy way to improve your health!
  • Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV): just like cinnamon, ACV could help with insulin sensitivity, even if you don’t have diabetes just yet. Studies have found that ACV improved postprandial (after meal) insulin sensitivity.
  • CBD Oil: CBD or Cannabidiol is being used by some people as a natural approach to fighting diabetes. Studies on diabetic mice have found that treatment with CBD reduced incidences of diabetes by 56% and significantly reduced inflammation. If you’d like to know more, brands like Blessed CBD where you can buy the best CBD oil UK have more information on the health improving properties of CBD.
  • Fenugreek Seeds: available in specialty stores, fenugreek seeds are can lower insulin resistance. It also helps with glycemic control, studies have found.
  • Mango leaves extract: Mango leaf helps lower blood glucose by making the body produce more insulin.
  • Fish oil: Besides keeping your heart and brain healthy, the omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish oil might also help manage diabetes. It has anti-inflammatory properties and, as we saw earlier, insulin resistance is associated with inflammation. Fish oil can lead to better glucose control and fat metabolism.

3. Exercise

Being overweight increases the risks of developing type 2 diabetes. One of the factors of diabetes is having a sedentary lifestyle. Just as little as 30 minutes of exercise a day for 5 days a week is the minimum required. Aerobic exercises like walking (I would not recommend running if you are overweight to avoid putting too much pressure on your knees), swimming, cycling or dancing are the best to start with.

4. Give IF a try

IF, or intermittent fasting, shows strong evidence of improving insulin sensitivity. This diet can be great for people who can manage to skip a meal or two everyday. I wouldn’t recommend adopting this eating pattern if your on insulin medication as IF could significantly increase the risk of hypoglycemia. Intermittent fasting may be better for people who have prediabetes and are not taking medication. Of course, you should ask your GP before trying IF.

5. Stop smoking

Smokers are 30 to 40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than nonsmokers. Moreover, people who already have diabetes and smoke are more likely to have trouble with insulin dosing and controlling the disease. They will also be more likely to develop complications including heart and kidney disease, poor blood flow in the legs (have you ever seen those cigarette packages with a black, rotten foot? That’s gangrene and it can lead to amputation), retinopathy (an eye disease that can lead to blindness), or peripheral neuropathy (damaged nerves in the arms and legs). If you’re a smoker and you want to quit, check this article.

6. Don’t skip happy hour!

Wait… what?
You heard me well. Alcohol may help manage diabetes. Moderate amounts of alcohol (one drink a day for a woman and two for a man) makes insulin more efficient. Of course, the key word here is MO-DE-RA-TION.

7. Try Yoga

An indian study found that diabetics who took yoga classes on a regular basis kept their glucose level steady. Mental stress can lead to a rise in blood sugar and yoga has been proven to be one of the bests stress-relievers out there.

All in all, what you need to keep in mind is that simple lifestyle changes can reverse type 2 diabetes.

All those tips are therefore easy to implement in your daily life and could very well save your life in the long run.