Type 2 diabetes is as common as it is hard to control. Different people respond differently to medications and treatment, and other issues, like thyroid disease, often complicate matters, making it hard to lose weight and keeping your energy low. The key to controlling diabetes naturally is a great diet, one that works for you, personally, combined with exercise. Finding the right balance is tricky, and the only person who can determine what’s exactly right for you is you.
If you’re ready to change your life and take charge of your diabetes, read on. Taking charge now, no matter how old you are, how heavy you are, or how sick you are, means fewer complications in the future and a longer healthier life.
Always check with your doctor before making major lifestyle changes, and follow his recommendations over anything you read on the internet, including my advice. I’m not a doctor. But since I strongly advocate a healthy diet and exercise, I think your doctor will agree.
Basic to Control Blood Sugar:
1. Fiber is fabulous. Most people don’t get enough fiber, because most of us don’t eat enough vegetables, or we cheat and drink V-8 and think we’re really getting a full serving of veggies because the commercial says so. Maybe you’re getting the vitamins and other nutrients, but you’re also getting a ton of sodium and you’re not getting the fiber. Drink all the veggie juice you want, but eat whole vegetables. There are also some great fiber bars on the market. I like Kellogg’s Caramel Coconut Fudge. It’s sweet and tasty enough to satisfy my sweet tooth, and it’s loaded with antioxidants and fiber. Great stuff. Women need about 25 grams of fiber per day, men about 30.
2. Avoid foods that make your sugar spike. I like to think of it as avoiding the white stuff. White rice, potatoes, regular pasta, white bread, chips, bananas, most breakfast cereals, instant (non-diet) oatmeal, most pastries and baked goods. Instead, get your carbs from whole grain sources, beans, fruits, and non-starchy vegetables.
3. Get plenty of exercise. I can’t say enough about how great exercise is. It’s cumulative, and every movement counts, so housecleaning, walking the dog, taking the stairs…every little bit adds up to a healthy day. If you sit all day at work, remind yourself to get up and take a lap of the office every hour. Even a couple of minutes will help if you make it a habit. Even better if you can go outside and take a brisk 10 or 15 minute walk twice a day. That will help with the mid-afternoon doldrums as well.
4. Promising Supplements. A few supplements have shown promise in diabetic care, and you can’t get enough to make a difference from food alone. Remember, do not overdue it. You can overdose on anything, including vitamins and water. Follow the recommendations and don’t improvise.
- Fucoxanthin has been the subject of a number of animal studies and has proven to decrease insulin and blood sugar by stimulating DHA levels (omega-3 fatty acids). It’s also in testing as a diet pill, so it may be beneficial on both counts.
- DHA is the omega-3 fatty acid found in oily, cold-water fish, walnuts, olives, and other natural food sources. People with high levels of DHA in their systems are significantly less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. More testing is underway to determine its effect on people who already have diabetes. You can get all the omega-3 fats you need from dietary sources, or you can try a DHA supplement.
- Psyllium – if you have a hard time getting all your daily fiber while controlling carbs at the same time, try adding a fiber supplement with psyllium. The most popular psyllium product on the market is probably Metamucil. You can find it anywhere. I’d like to repeat a caution here, because I can’t say it often enough: Do not go overboard. If you go from 10 grams of fiber to 30, you’re going to be very uncomfortable. You need both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble pulls water into your colon and makes things move smoothly. Insoluble fiber has more of a bulldozer effect..it’s called roughage for good reason.
5. Lose weight. If you follow tips 1-4, you will lose weight, which in turn will help control diabetes and also lower your cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, improve your chances of not getting cancer, give you more energy, improve the quality of your sleep, help you avoid circulatory problems and other diabetes complications.
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Guest Post by: Cindy Johnson is a 26 year old freelance writer with a passion for healthy eating and healthy lifestyle. Read her blog for healthy living tips. When she’s not writing, Cindy loves to hike in the mountains of North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, son, and a small assortment of dogs.
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