If you have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes or are in a high-risk category for diagnosis, there are many natural remedies which you can incorporate to guide you towards a healthier future.
What is Type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic endocrine disorder which impacts the body’s ability to process glucose for fuel, which results in high amounts of sugar (glucose) circulating in the blood stream. Over time, with a number of genetic/environmental circumstances, the body builds up a resistance to insulin which results in deranged secretion of insulin by the pancreatic beta cells.
Type 2 diabetes was once named ‘adult-onset diabetes’, however it is now becoming more common in younger populations. Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes can go undetected for prolonged periods of time. These include:
- Increased hunger and/or thirst
- Frequent urination
- Frequent infections and slow-healing sores
- Blurry vision
- Insidious onset hyperglycaemia
- History of fatigue
There is no prescribed cure for Type 2 diabetes, however the condition is highly responsive to lifestyle and dietary changes. These changes include but are not exclusive to: weight loss, incorporating regular exercise regime, making healthy dietary adjustments and including a range of very important vitamins and minerals in the diet. There are some particularly important substances which have been proven to drastically improve the signs and potentially reverse the symptoms of this disorder.
Here are nine natural remedies to aid Type 2 diabetes:
1. Vitamin D – vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin which is produced by the body when exposed to sunlight. It is also present in certain foods and supplements. Amongst the many important functions of vitamin D, it’s impact on glucose metabolism is important. It has a positive impact on blood sugar and is highly important to support diabetics and pre-diabetics. In addition to this, vitamin D may have the added benefit of reducing inflammation in the body, which is common in those with Type 2 diabetes.
2. Probiotics – We all know probiotics are crucial for gut health, digestion and immune health, but did you know they are very important for diabetics? Research has shown that supplementing with probiotics has shown to improve the biomarkers in diabetic patients. Whether you are supplementing with a high-quality probiotic or including a variety of organic fermented foods in your diet – probiotics are key!
3. Magnesium – Magnesium deficiency is common in a large number of Australians! Magnesium is required by the pancreas for the production of insulin, making it highly important particularly for those with diabetes. Studies have shown that deficiencies in Magnesium may worsen the symptoms experienced in diabetes and supplementation can improve insulin resistance.
4. Vitamin C – Vitamin C is key for optimal health and is a powerful antioxidant which helps to protect the cells from free radicals and oxidative stress. A deficiency in this important vitamin has been linked to chronic inflammation, joint pain and poor wound healing. All symptoms which can be experienced with diabetes. Ensuring we have sufficient vitamin C levels in the body has been shown to improve glycaemic control and blood pressure in those with Type 2 diabetes. Of course, we can find very high-quality vitamin C supplements, although there are many natural food sources such as red capsicums, citrus fruits, berries, broccoli and kiwi fruit which we can incorporate daily into our diet.
5. Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids – Omega-3s are important for providing structure to our cell membranes, brain health, eye health as well as supporting inflammation in the body. Studies on Type 2 diabetes found that those participants who were consuming high amounts of omega-3s had significantly lower blood glucose responses to those on lower amounts. Incorporating foods rich in healthy fats such as oily wild-caught fish, flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts are all amazing sources to include in the diet.
6. Curcumin (Turmeric) – This super-spice is one of the most well researched and highly effective nutrients for disease prevention, including Type 2 diabetes. The main constituents found in curcumin (curcuminoids and sesquiterpenoids) have been shown to suppress increases in blood glucose levels. The notable anti-inflammatory effects of Curcumin make this a must-have nutrient for diabetes. When consuming turmeric, it is important to know how to increase the absorption of the active ingredient (curcumin). Consuming with black pepper and good fats help to increase the absorption by up to 2000%.
7. Psyllium – A soluble plant fibre which is effective in treating bowel disorders motility, but also a useful therapy in regulating dietary cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Intake of psyllium may reduce serum cholesterol and help to improve glycaemic control in those who are at risk of Type 2 diabetes.
8. Ginger – Ginger root has been used both for culinary and medicinal preparations for thousands of years. As well as being used for immune enhancement, nausea and stomach-ache’s, ginger can also be used to aid Type 2 diabetes. Supplementation with ginger for three months revealed improvements in glycaemic levels as well as boosting antioxidant capacity in pre-diabetic individuals. Adding fresh ginger to tea infusions, smoothies, soups, curries and other culinary dishes is a great way to incorporate this amazing herb without having to supplement.
9. Cinnamon – Last but not least! Cinnamon has gained recognition as a useful therapy for Type 2 diabetes over recent years, although it has a long history for its uses as an antidiabetic spice. Finally, it has received recognition for it’s amazing potential and many studies have acknowledged this. It has been found that cinnamon intake in those with type 2 diabetes/prediabetes significantly lowered fasting blood glucose levels. Supplementation has also been found to significantly decrease systolic and diastolic blood pressure, particularly in those with type 2 diabetes.