CHECK YOUR DRUGS FOR INTERACTIONS
KNOWN GRAPEFRUIT DRUG INTERACTIONS
- fentanyl transdermal system
This list below is for the trade names of medications, which you may recognize easier than the technical classification listed above.
- Doral, Dormalin
- Zoloft, Lustral
- Ritalin, Concerta
- Zocor, Simlup, Simcor, Simvacor
- Quinidex, Cardioquin, Quinora
- Cafergot, Ergomar
- Elavil, Endep, Vanatrip
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The only topic more hotly debated than nutrition is that of weight loss supplements for diabetes. The endless reports in the news are conflicting from day-to-day. A handful of knowledgeable doctors use vitamins in their arsenal of tools to combat diabetes, with proven results. Keep reading for the truth on what to avoid and what to include in your diabetic meal plan regimen.
Disclaimer: The Five Hour Diabetic meal plan is meant to be used with the ongoing care of a physician or other certified medical professional. It is never meant as a replacement for proper medical treatment, nor as a substitute for medications for any health conditions. Consult with physician before adding any nutritional supplements to your intake. Most conventional medical doctors will struggle with this topic, while naturopathic physicians and functional medicine doctors can offer custom guidance.
THE GREAT DEBATE
Weight loss supplements for diabetes draw out polarized opinions from all camps. Some doctors are quick to lump all supplements together as rubbish and just tell patients to avoid them altogether. While other medical professionals and online experts claim that vitamins can heal everything, from cancer to diabetes, with just a simple daily dose. The truth is that a narrow middle ground exists and has proven beneficial in the healing process, but no “silver bullet” exists in the form of a pill that will completely reverse diabetes.
The dark side of supplements is that they fall outside of the realm of prescription drugs, the multi-billion dollar industry that is mostly unregulated, or worse yet, self-regulated by the vitamin manufacturers. It is in poor judgement to trust any company’s claims that stand to profit greatly from a regularly consumed item. Most supplements manufacturers are modern-day snake-oil salesmen. In the American Diabetic Association’s (ADA) recommendations for diabetics they state “there is no clear evidence of benefit from vitamin or mineral supplementation.” Some synthetically created vitamins have been shown in research studies to only be partially absorbed by the body.
The brighter, more promising side of supplements can safely aid in the healing process with far fewer side effects than over-the-counter or prescription drugs. Independent research studies at accredited universities have been conducted on real live human beings and shown measurable benefits, for some supplements. For example, fish oil has been researched to prove its ability to reduce inflammation and arthritic pain as a safer alternative to NSAIDs. (NSAIDs stand for Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs, such as, aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.) Fish oil has far fewer adverse side effects when compared to NSAIDs – such as stomach bleeding and high blood pressure. In a self-conflicting act, the ADA’s Diabetes Journal conducted a study on curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric. They concluded that curcumin intervention is safe and effective for use in reversing prediabetes. This study noticed an improvement in overall β-cell functions. These independently done studies by trained professionals at universities make it difficult to completely write off nutritional weight loss supplements for diabetes as a gimmick.
Contradictory as it seems, malnutrition is a key contributor to obesity. — Madeleine M. Kunin
The reality of weight loss supplements for diabetes is that some are beneficial, when used appropriately by trained medical professionals with a healing diet of whole foods. Most medical doctors never received any training or education on nutritional supplements in school or practice. It is of no wonder that most diabetics we have spoken with report that their doctor advises against their use. The use of supplements is sadly still a counter-culture practice in doctors’ offices today. Naturopathic physicians and functional medicine doctors are both trained in their healing properties. We have created an excellent list of potential supplements for you to investigate with your medical professional. The links go to reputable sources that produce consistent products of the highest quality.
THE NEED FOR WEIGHT LOSS SUPPLEMENTS FOR DIABETES
Our ancestors from thousands of years ago certainly did not have nutritional supplements for use, but they arguably ate a diet more complete in minerals and nutrients than ours. The wild fish and wild animals consumed in the past had higher levels of nutrients than our modern “engineered” animals from factory farms. Animals allowed to thrive on their natural diets make for healthier meat than those fed a foreign diet, chock full of antibiotics and growth hormones. In modern times, our meat consumed from wild sources still holds far more nutrients than their counterparts raised in stressful factories. By all means, if you can get wild deer, boar, salmon, elk or fowl, add that into your diabetic meal plan over grocery store meat selections. Wild meat certainly cannot be classified as organic, but it is a superior choice in flavor and nutrients. Eating the conventional standard American diet (SAD), with factory produced meat, will lead to nutrient deficiencies over time.
In a similar way, our modern farms suffer from mineral depletion in the soil. The need to keep plots of farmland in constant use, to be lucrative, means that the land can never naturally recover its nutrients. Fruits and vegetables that are grown in the “conventional” way, with the heavy use of sprayed chemical fertilizers and insecticides suffer from greater soil depletion due to the heavy run-off associated with these chemicals. If your budget allows, always chose organic, non-sprayed or wild produce over conventional for the most nutrient packed healing foods.
Most diabetics are overweight or obese, yet are also malnourished. We typically associate starving people with malnutrition, but a lack of key nutrients can happen in obese people, too. The reason behind this conundrum is mostly due to the standard American diet (SAD). The foods that most Americans eat come from highly processed sources (think: anything in a box or container) or from fast food. These “food like” items are notorious for being high in macronutrients (calories, fat, carbs, sugar, etc.) while also void of minerals and nutrients. Over time, a depletion of nutrients will slowly worsen the inflammation seen throughout the body in metabolic syndrome.
DETERMINE YOUR NEEDS
We are all in different places with our health, so it can be expected that our needs for weight loss supplements for diabetes will vary from person to person. The benefit of modern-day science allows us easy access to laboratories for micronutrient testing. For those fortunate enough to have medical insurance we have found that most will cover these types of tests. It is always best to call your insurance company to check beforehand (have the diagnosis and CPT codes handy!).
SpectraCell Laboratories solely operates to process testing for doctors and patients. It is well-regarded in the scientific world and used by thousands of doctors and professional athletes. They offer a comprehensive nutritional panel. Testing your micronutrient levels before, and after, embarking on a supplement plan will allow you to find your needs and gauge how well the changes in your health are responding. For doctors that are still skeptical on the benefits of nutritional supplements for diabetes these scientific tests can allow real world results to confirm the efficacy of non-prescription drug methods of healing. The only drawback of this micronutrient testing is that it cannot test for some of the supplements on our recommended list. Biotin, cinnamon, curcumin, and probiotics are not possible to test for in this method.
Once you determine a regimen of supplements with your doctor’s help, there are some details to keep in mind. Proper use of weight loss supplements for diabetes, when needed, can greatly improve your chances of getting your health under control. These are easy wins that will amplify your efforts of changes to your lifestyle.
- Buy quality! This is a key point to drive home. The supplement industry is largely left up to its own devices, so rely on the brands that trained doctors have used in the past. Resist the urge to save a few bucks with an inferior brand. Their quality and purity can vary by magnitudes.
- Take regularly with food. Take the your doctor’s recommended dosage with your meals. This both creates a habit and the food can help ease the supplements into your blood stream. Also, some supplements function biochemically better when taken with healing food.
- Reduce poor quality food first. There are no supplements that are powerful enough to offset the standard American diet (SAD) of highly processed foods. Do not fall into the nutritional pitfall of thinking that vitamins taken with a super-sized fast food meal will count as healthy – it does not work like that. Following this meal plan is the easiest way to get your nutrition on track.
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THE POWER OF GOOD SLEEP
The naturally recurring pattern of altered consciousness that is sleep provides us with daily repairs to both our mind and body. Slumber is characterized by a general lack of movement of the physical body and voluntary muscles, but there are countless mechanisms hard at work on the biochemical front. There exists ongoing efforts on the study of sleep and we continue to learn more about this healing process every year through research. In humans (and mammals), the sleep cycle is divided into two modes – REM sleep and non-REM sleep. The acronym REM stands for rapid eye movement. During non-REM sleep the body releases growth hormones for cellular repairs and muscle growth. Also, the brain will replenish its supply of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) during this mode, the transporter of chemical energy for metabolism. When sleep deprivation, or just lack of sleep, occurs these repair mechanisms are greatly reduced and any inflammation or diseases can worsen quicker.
The effects of lack of sleep extend far beyond the diminished bodily repair tasks during your night. Researchers have found a direct link between junk food cravings and sleep deprivation. The participants in this study reported greater hunger the following day after being intentionally deprived of sleep. During follow-up tasks, the researchers noticed a decrease in their cognitive abilities in response time and an increase in desires for junk food. They concluded that sleep deprivation provides “a mechanism through which sleep disturbances may promote obesity development.” Every night of poor sleep you get hedges the bets against you making good food choices the next day. It is speculated that humans have developed this mechanism over thousands of years, but without the presence of junk food. Whatever the stressors might have been to cause our ancestors to lose sleep – flooding, famine, tribal invasions, etc., the body reacted to these times of stress by telling the brain to reach for the most energy dense food possible. This theory seems to make sense. If you found yourself in a famine, nomadically wandering from place to place, eating rich foods would be the best for your survival. In modern times, that theoretical famine never comes, thus weight gain occurs.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a severe case of a sleeping disorder and is a significant issue that demands prompt medical attention, especially for diabetics. It is estimated that 22 million Americans are afflicted with this disorder, most of whom are left undiagnosed. When left untreated, sleep apnea can increase the risk for Type 2 diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure and other cardio vascular diseases. Those people most at risk for sleep apnea are men, people who are overweight or obese and those over the age of 40. However, more cases are being seen in women and younger patients.
Lack of sleep is also linked to depression. A recent study at the University of Adelaide, by Dr Carol Lang, found that men with an undiagnosed sleeping disorder are four times more likely to have depression than those without a sleeping disorder. Dr Lang concluded that “our study found excessive daytime sleepiness and severe obstructive sleep apnea are both associated with the prevalence and onset of depression, and the presence of both is associated with an even greater risk.” Other studies have found that the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine can result in a significant improvement of depression.
The main symptoms of sleep apnea are loud snoring, moments of choking or gasping for air, and being tired throughout the day. Apnea means that your body’s breathing is either partially or completed blocked for several seconds. Factors that increase your risk of developing sleep apnea and lack of sleep are:
- Being overweight or obese. The body fat around the neck and breathing passages can exhibit more force causing the blockage of airways.
- Smoking cigarettes. The use of tobacco adversely affects you lung’s capacities. Nicotine can cause mucus to develop in the lungs, making it harder to breathe.
- Neck circumference. Some people with larger necks can have more mass around their airways.
- Being male. Men are twice as likely to develop sleep apnea compared to women. This is due to the physiological differences between the male and female anatomy.
Testing for sleep apnea is painless and straight forward. Ask your medical professional how they diagnose this lack of sleep disorder. The most common method is to do a sleep study, either at home or at a sleep clinic. If you are concerned that you may suffer from this disorder, consider doing an audio recording of your sleep during the night, from a smart phone or digital camera. The loud and frequent gasping episodes can be easily heard on a low-quality recording device. This preliminary test, albeit crude and unscientific, can prove your need for doing a comprehensive sleep study by a sleep clinic. Keep in mind that not everyone that snores has sleep apnea, but nearly all of those with sleep apnea do snore. The difference is that moment when breathing stops and then an audible gasp occurs.
Sleep is the golden chain that binds health and our bodies together. — Thomas Dekker
Immediate treatment of those diagnosed with sleep apnea typically comes in the form of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. This small device produces pressure through a mask worn on the patient’s face. It encourages breathing through the nose instead of the mouth. While no one has ever been excited to wear a CPAP to bed, it does produce remarkable results. It has been shown to greatly limit the progression of Type 2 diabetes. This helpful tool can allow you to make lifestyle changes that could result in weight loss. Dropping several pounds of body weight is one of the most reliable methods to get sleep apnea under control. Consider the CPAP as a temporary solution and a warning sign for the need to make changes to your nutrition and exercise habits.
HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR LACK OF SLEEP
The sleep needs of most adults is between 7-9 hours per night, as reported by the National Sleep Foundation. This is just an average, but listen to your own body. If you need 6 or 10 hours to feel well-rested by all means plan your schedule around that.
Our modern world presents challenges and obstacles to a good night’s sleep. A little planning and the right tools can skew the odds back to your favor for getting proper rest. Here are some of the most reliable means to improving your lack of sleep:
- Keep your bedroom completely dark. Our body is triggered to wake up to the sunrise, so it is sensitive to any residual light throughout the night. Check out our links for blackout curtains, sleep eye-mask and memory pillows in our household resource section.
- Reduce your caffeine intake. If you have suffer from lack of sleep, try eliminating or greatly reducing your coffee and tea intake. Even one glass of coffee in the morning can affect sleep some hours later. Caffeine interferes with your quantity and quality of sleep.
- Eat better quality food. The proper eating of healing, whole foods can make your body function better than poor quality processed foods. It is easier to digest and can lead to improved biochemical functions during sleep. Subscribing to this diabetic meal plan is the easiest way to make sure you are on the right path for nutrition.
- Reduce your screen time. The amount of time our society spends sitting and staring at screens these days is astounding. The stimulation of the blue wavelengths from screens signals daytime to our brains. Reading a conventional book or using a non-backlit reader with eInk eliminates this effect. Limit your screen time for a few hours before going to bed.
- Take melatonin before bedtime. This supplement can help ease you into sleep. Typical dosage 1-3mg. Consult with your doctor beforehand.
- Install f.lux on your computers, tablets, and phones. This free software is one of my favorites. It adjusts the colors on your screen depending on the time of day. It pulls the blue spectrum out at sunset to help you fall asleep easier.
- Use a sunrise simulating alarm clock. This is one of the smartest designed alarm clocks sold in the world today. Instead of that horrible blaring of conventional alarms, this one gradually brightens the room with light to simulate your own personal sunrise. At the end of those 30 minutes, a gentle sounding alarm activates. Check out the Philips Wake-Up Light With Colored Sunrise Simulation Alarm Clock in our household resource section.
- Keep your room cool. This tip is more for the summer months or those living in warmer climates. Those hot summer nights can make falling asleep challenging. Your body prefers a cooler temperature when it is not sweating.
- Use your CPAP machine every night. As mentioned above, this helpful device aids greatly in getting diabetes under control. Be diligent about its nightly use and you will be rewarded with years added to your life in the future.
- Buy a great bed and pillow. A bed is where we spend at least a third of our lives, so it makes sense to own one that is in good shape. Poor structure in old beds can result in uncomfortable sleep. The Memory Foam Pillow can help keep your neck and head comfortable and physiologically in the correct place for a good night’s rest.
- Keep your bedroom quiet. If you struggle with loud neighbors or roommates, consider sleeping with ear plugs. Noise, like light, can cause you to waken.
- Put your phone in airplane mode. If you are using your phone for an alarm, keep it from receiving signals that could wake you up. Getting quality sleep is much more important than being alerted by your FarmVille app at 2am.
- Drink some chamomile tea. The essential oil, bisabolol, in the chamomile flower has several helpful properties. The anti-inflammatory and sedative effects of this tea are most important to diabetics.
- Listen to calming music or white noise. It is possible to train yourself to fall asleep to music or white noise. The brain creates a mental connection with sleep to a fan running in the background or a sleep CD.
- Take a relaxing bath. One of the best things to do at the end of a stressful or busy day is to relax with an epsom salt bath. Buy only epsom salts without fragrance and other potential hormone disrupting chemicals. A quick 20 or 30 minute soak before bedtime can reduce stress and slow your heartbeat. Add some lavender essential oil for added natural relaxation effects. The bonus of epsom salts is that it is a great way to get magnesium in your body.
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Testosterone is a powerful hormone that serves many bodily functions and is secreted by the testicles of men and the ovaries of women. Men with diabetes are more than twice as likely to have low have levels of testosterone. Obese men are over 2.5 times as likely to have low levels of testosterone. This hormone mainly supports proper sexual reproductive needs, but also has a secondary role of promoting healthy hair, muscle, and bone growth. This study concludes a strong link between low testosterone and diabetes. Since low testosterone precedes the diagnosis of diabetes, it can serve as the proverbial canary in the coal mine. While there are a staggering amount of factors that can cause lower testosterone, there is one easily controllable condition that affects us smart phone users. Cell phones dangerous interactions with your body can worsen your health. Getting your testosterone levels tested by your physician is an easy and routine procedure. Your efforts to get your testosterone in the normal range will make muscle growth and weight loss much easier.
Low testosterone is an early indicator for obesity and a few other conditions worth avoiding. From years of studies, experts have concluded these side effects occur when this powerful hormone is low:
- Insulin Resistance – As the body’s testosterone gets lower and lower, the body has a harder time with insulin. Those suffering from prediabetes could be worsening their health by having lower testosterone.
- High Blood Pressure – The influence of testosterone in the blood stream acts on the vessels to increase the risk of hypertension. High blood pressure is one of the factors of metabolic syndrome.
- Erectile Dysfunction – Testosterone is the primary sexual hormone in men and lows levels are the leading cause in erectile dysfunctions. A strong sex life is a sign of good bodily functions and overall health, age notwithstanding.
- Alzheimer’s Disease – Low levels have been linked to developing this neurodegenerative disease. Some doctors have even started labeling Alzheimer’s as type 3 diabetes due to the strong correlation between it and metabolic syndrome.
CELL PHONES DANGEROUS RADIATION
Technology can offer wonderful advancements for humanity. The modern computer has leveraged our human abilities for doing complex math and simulation problems. Telephones now allow the amazing ability to speak directly to nearly anyone on this planet. This was unthinkable a mere century ago. As new technology is developed, we are often unaware on how it will be used or affect our culture and human bodies. The recent invention of the smart phone has changed our behavior – think about how often you see people just looking down and doing the infinite scroll movement with their fingers. We are now a society of hyper-connected, always-on, and dopamine dependent smart phone addicts. Each time you get a notification on your phone, it results in a small increase in dopamine in the brain, the pleasure-seeking hormone. The irregular, albeit nearly constant, stimulating of your dopamine system can be exhausting over time. This behavioral addiction pattern can also be disruptive to productivity. Our mind truly cannot multitask, so it is forced to flip between distractions, one at a time. Cell phones dangerous behavior changing has affected the pleasure centers of our brains.
The behavioral addiction to smart phones is the noticeable effect of this modern technology, but there exists a harder to spot effect from the electromagnetic radiation. Smart phones send a very strong, direct signal to nearby cell towers to make a conversation possible. When not in use during a phone call, a smart phone will continue to send a strong signal, but at intermittent rates, to log GPS data, check for voice-mails and text messages. The number of apps on a smart phone further increase the amount of notifications and data being sent, thus resulting in even more radiation. Cell phones entered the market years ago through a regulatory loophole that only required minimal testing to prove safety to the general population. At that time, there were not rules in place to protect from the unknown effects of cellular radiation. To worsen this situation, the manufacturers of cell phones conduct their own testing. There is a clear conflict of interest since the manufacturers stand to earn great profits, but are left to self-police their interests. Cell phones dangerous consequences are under-reported.
Research studies have been quietly getting published on the adverse effects of cellular use in the recent years. Since it would be considered cruel to subject humans to high levels of radiation to test its effects, most of the testing has been conducted on lab rats. While this is not ideal since humans and rats are not completely the same in biological makeup, it is the only means of conducting a controlled research experiment. A study done outside of the US found that exposure to a mere 30 minutes per day for three months produced significant reductions in serum testosterone. Adding to this finding, they stated: “any change in the normal levels [of testosterone] may be devastating for reproductive and general health.” Another study found that cellular use greatly increases damage to DNA following a call or dialing. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer went so far as stating that electromagnetic radiation from mobile phone and other wireless devices makes up a “possible human carcinogen.” Studies in Sweden have concluded that cellular users are four times as likely to develop brain cancer over their lifetime.
MINIMIZING THE DAMAGE
Before throwing your hands up in frustration, understand that some workarounds do exist and they’re relatively easy to carry out in your daily life. By all means, we all need to develop a healthy way to use our smart phones. It is hard to think of going back to an existence without these powerful computers in our convenient grasp.
Airplane mode is not just for flying. The purpose of this mode was to cut the potential electromagnetic effects of phones to the computers used on airplanes. Airplane mode keeps your phone on, but it restricts all the cellular, wi-fi and bluetooth signals from being sent or received. If you keep your phone in your pants pocket, like most people do, it will be next to your ovaries and your testicles. This is where testosterone gets produced, so it is key to prevent your phone from damaging this process. Whenever you do put your phone in your pocket, just put it on airplane mode. It is counter-culture to not be immediately responsive for contact, but most people truly do not have such urgent matters. Your normal levels of testosterone are far more important than immediately getting notified that someone has posted a kitten video on your Facebook timeline.
To lower the effect of cell radiation when talking on your phone, there’s only one case on the market that has been tested by independent labs. The design of these cases reduces the exposure to radiation by 89% below the FCC limit. Pong Cases for iPhone 6 or iPhone 5/5S.
The placement and location of your smart phone will affect how much radiation you get exposed to also. If you’re traveling to work or school, it’s best to have your phone on airplane mode. When you arrive it is advisable to distance yourself from your phone as much as possible. Turning your phone on and putting it two arm distances away (or more) on your desk will make sure that you can stay connected while keeping the radiation at bay. For those who use your phone as an alarm clock next to your bed, consider just keeping it in airplane mode throughout the night. This will reduce any notifications from interrupting your sleep, not to mention give you a break from the seemingly constant cell radiation.
Most states have mandated using a hands-free solution for driving and talking in vehicles. It makes sense to use a bluetooth headset when not driving, too. The electrical radiation from the bluetooth headset is far less than what your phone emits to contact the cell tower. So putting your phone across the room, during a call, and using your bluetooth should decrease the potential for brain tumors and brain cancer later in life.
A sample size of one does not a study make, but there is power in the anecdotal experience. Since testing cell radiation on humans would be a cruel and unusual punishment, arguably our personal experiences could be the best proof we need to limit our smart phone usage.
Several years ago, I read the above study on serum testosterone and cellular radiation and decided to try an experiment on myself. I reasoned that if this was true and the effect was significant enough, that I should feel or notice something. After about two years of having a smart phone constantly on in my pocket, I decided to change my behavior and keep it in airplane mode or off while on my person. In hindsight, I wish I had measured my testosterone before and after this experiment. The first two weeks of not having my phone radiating my cojones, I experienced a strong discomfort in my testicles that I can only attribute to not being radiated directly. They were quite sore but the discomfort lessened by the end of the second week. At month three, I had gained about 10 pounds of muscle, without changing my diet nor exercise. My next dental visit brought much surprise to my dentist. Earlier I had recesses in my gums that were “worth keeping an eye on” but not bad enough to call for a painful and expensive trip to the periodontist. Approximately four months after my cell experiment began, the recesses between my gums and teeth had definitely gotten smaller. Since testosterone plays a vital role in growing muscle mass, it had encouraged my gums to grow back to a level that my dentist declared as both in the safe and normal range for gum health. I will never put my iPhone in my pocket again when it is on and neither should you. Cell phones dangerous effects were too personal for me to ignore.
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The act of healing can arise from different sources if you keep an open eye and open mind. To the chagrin of the multi-billion dollar diabetic pharmaceutical industry, healing can occur from your food and spices, not just from expensive pills. Most medications can also generate serious side effects to complicate the healing process. Consuming food in its whole format can slowly add minerals and nutrients back into your body to stimulate natural cellular reactions that can heal the damage done by diabetes. Those who have reversed their type 2 or prediabetes have done so with the best foods for diabetics. There have been no documented cases of anyone reversing their diabetes through pill-based medication alone. If you are subscribed to this diabetic meal plan, you will recognize many of the items below from the weekly grocery lists and recipes.
FRUIT: NATURE’S DESSERT
Fruit is defined as the fleshy part of a flower-bearing plant used to spread seeds. But we know it is as the naturally sweet produce with some of the most diverse flavors in the culinary world. While fruit makes its sugars naturally, it can still spike your blood sugar levels significantly. For diabetics, it is best to consume fruits in moderation and in whole format. Diabetics should never drink juice! The act of juicing separates the fiber from the sugar, making it more concentrated. A glass of orange juice is just as toxic to a diabetic as a glass of sugary soda. It’s good practice to consume sweet fruit with fat to lower the resultant blood sugar spike. For example, a diabetic could eat an apple with some almond butter on it as a healthy midday snack.
One of the most versatile fruit groups for cooking is the citrus family. These tart fruits are not just limited to dessert, but can be incorporated in sauces, dressings and entrees. This group includes the common lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits and the less common kumquat and pomellos. They are all high vitamin C and can encourage good digestion. Citrus, while acidic in taste, is surprisingly alkalizing to our digestive track, which helps to mitigate the other acidic items in your diet. Citrus fruits have many detoxifying properties to them making them one of the best foods for diabetics.
Lemons are antibacterial and have the most calcium citrate of all the citrus fruits. This is important because it can decrease the rate of formation of kidney stones. Drinking lemon juice with hot water can be used to counteract nausea, heart burn or acid indigestion. The mighty lemon can also reduce swelling, water retention and inflammation in your body. It’s antibacterial properties can help to rid the body of the bacteria that causes UTI’s (urinary tract infection).
If there was a fruit designed specifically for the needs of diabetics, it would be the grapefruit. This bitter-sweet flavor profile rarely makes it in any mass-produced foods, but can be used to make drinks, teas, desserts or dressings. A study using grapefruit, grapefruit juice and grapefruit capsules found excellent results when grapefruit was consumed three times per day before meals. This is why it is one of the best foods for diabetics. After 12 weeks, the study found that those people eating half of a grapefruit before each meal lost the most amount of weight comparatively, an average of 3.5 pounds lost. Those people in the study that also suffered from metabolic syndrome demonstrated the weight loss significantly higher than the average. The group consuming the grapefruit also had a significant reduction in insulin levels two hours after the meal. The outer peel of the grapefruit also has beneficial healing properties and works to regulate the digestive energy of the spleen and pancreas. To consume the properties of the peel, make a simple tea with a few 2-inch pieces and steep for 20 minutes covered.
These small fruits pack a big amount of flavor and healing benefits. This flavor profile has found is way into processed, inflammatory foods (think: Boo-Berry cereal) but the healing properties are non-existent since the simulated berry flavors come from a food lab, not its whole food counterpart. You can only reap the healing benefits from consuming whole foods, not through processed ones. The berry family has properties that are excellent for combating metabolic syndrome. Other benefits include being anti-cancer, supporting vision, chock full of antioxidants and much more. Trader Joe’s offers a wide choice of frozen berries that are organic or at least wild and not sprayed with fertilizers.
Blueberries are one of the most common berries in grocery stores across the country. They are native to North America and delicious when consumed fresh. These dark berries are full of antioxidants to improve eyesight and antibacterial to combat intestinal bugs. Studies have found that blueberries can slow the growth of cancerous cells, specifically prostate cancer cells, due to their concentration of proanthocyandin compounds. This makes them one of the best foods for diabetics. Consider using frozen blueberries in smoothie recipes for maximizing the absorption of all of its healing properties.
Strawberries are the most popular berry and with good reason. They are seasonal but delicious when consumed fresh. Sadly, all berries are heavily fertilized, so try to buy organic or wild if your budget allows it. Strawberries are high in vitamin C and the good flavonoids of quercetin and kaempferol, both of which promote the good type of cholesterol and reduce atherosclerosis. The leaves of the strawberry plant can also aid indigestion. Make a simple tea with the leaves by steeping them for 5 minutes.
Cranberries are not just for the Thanksgiving table, but can be eaten year round. Most cranberry sauces do come with a lot of added sugar to balance out this sour berry. Diabetics should avoid cranberry juice and cranberry chutneys/sauces/relish with added sugar. The best way to consume this berry is to buy it in its whole, raw berry format, whether fresh or frozen. In addition to the antioxidants and antibacterial properties, the cranberry can promote good gum health. As most folks know, the cranberry is also good for preventing UTI’s (urinary tract infection) and bladder and kidney infections due to its nondialyzable material.
The main picture of this article is of the vine fruit bitter melon. It has healing properties ideal for diabetics, but is native to Asia, Africa and South America and hard to find in the US. Asian markets are most likely to carry this melon. As the name suggests, it is quite bitter. In Vietnam, they slice this melon very thin and serve it raw with noodle dishes. Bitter melon has complex compounds, such as charantin, vicine, and polypeptide-P, which function very much like insulin. These healing compounds help your body metabolize sugars in your blood stream.
Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.
The diverse world of vegetables are defined as plant-based matter that are consumed by humans. It’s a definition as wide as the selection of colors, flavors and textures of vegetables found around the planet. Consuming a vegetable dense diet can help prevent or reverse diseases such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cancer, dementia, and more. These nutrient packed foods can help your skin clear up and look younger, as well as being great sources of natural fiber to increase mineral absorption and speed up your digestive tract.
One of the powerhouses of the plant kingdom comes with a long list of healing vitamins and minerals. Kale alone has vitamin C, K, chlorophyll, iron and more calcium than milk per the same serving. It is also a strong anti-inflammatory which makes it key for diabetics, as metabolic syndrome is defined as an inflammation of various organs and body tissue. Swiss chard, or sometimes called rainbow or green chard, has many antioxidants and syringic acid which has been recently studied due its blood sugar regulating properties.
Native cuisines across the globe usually have some fermented foods consumed regularly with most meals. The Germans have their cabbage fermented to sauerkraut. The Koreans have many varieties of kimchi, which captures a sweet and sour flavor profile. Indonesia ferments soybeans into tempeh, while the Japanese ferment soy into miso. Unfortunately, the American palate is dominated by fast foods and highly processed food-like items, none of which have anything fermented. It may not be a flavor that ranks well in food testing labs for our food industry, but that’s no reason to shy away from it. Several recipes used on this diabetic meal plan incorporate fermented components and with good reason, it makes for a healthy gut.
The fermentation process grows healthy bacteria in a controlled environment to keep the food from rotting or otherwise going bad. The bacteria from this fermentation process can help to form a healthy flora in your gut and digestive tract, thus reducing intestinal disorders, irritable bowel syndrome and more. A research study in Brazil found that evidence “suggests that some chronic inflammatory diseases are mediated or affected by the dysfunction of the gut microbiota and its metabolic products.” They continue to conclude “based on these observations, manipulation of intestinal microbiota may prevent or alleviate chronic inflammatory disease. The composition of the microbiota can be manipulated by antibiotics, probiotics, and dietary components.” Adding in kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi or by supplementation with probiotics, you can help reset the importance balance of the good bacteria you might not have known existed in your body.
RED HOT CHILE PEPPERS
The vast group of different chiles extends from jalapeño to cayenne to guajillo to habañero. Peppers all may taste very differently but all have similar health benefits to diabetics. The heat from the plant originates from the volatile oils in the pod. As most of us have experienced, the heat from peppers can cause sweating and a burning intensity if too much is consumed. Controlling the amount of heat to keep food palatable allows you to reap its benefits. The slight increase in sweating is good to stimulate detoxing. The pepper also stimulates blood circulation throughout the body, even when your face is not melting off. And peppers are chock full of anti-oxidants and can lower bad cholesterol, too. A side effect of the heat is that it can cut food cravings and greatly slow down your pace of eating. The slower that you eat means the more nutrients you can extract from your food and the sooner your body will release leptin, the satiety hormone. This tells your brain that you’re full and should stop eating. Anyone who eats too quickly should consider adding 1/8 tsp of cayenne to your savory meals.
MUSHROOMS: THE FUNGUS AMONG US
There’s an entire world of edible fungi with healing properties. Grocery stores are starting to carry a wider selection, but some mushrooms can be ordered online at Amazon since they take well to drying. The canned button mushrooms are most widely known and sold in the US, but keep an eye out for fresh shiitakes, oysters, and portobellos. Most mushrooms contain the amino acid ergothioneine which helps to reduce inflammation in the body. When eaten raw, on salads for example, mushrooms can contain higher levels of prebiotics to help foster healthy gut bacteria. The benefits continue, as mushrooms are also antibacterial, antiviral and anticancer.
GOOD FAT ONE OF THE BEST FOODS FOR DIABETICS
Many people, with or without diabetes, are quite surprised to see that butter is okay and even encouraged for diabetics to consume. To clarify, the butter that is good to eat is real butter made from milk from cows raised without antibiotics nor hormones. The butter-like spreads are not real butter and typically packed with poor sources of palm oil and transfats. As Dr Hyman has stated, good fats do not make you fat, but sugar makes you fat. Real butter is a good source of short- and medium-chain fatty acids, which promote heart health. Long-chain fatty acids are the ones to avoid and are linked to heart disease. Ghee or clarified butter has been used for thousands of years in the Indian subcontinent. It has healing properties and even is used on wounds and as a hair tonic, as well as cooking.
Olive oil is another excellent source of healthy fatty acids and has not been vilified as butter has in the past. It is a staple in the Mediterranean Diet, which is endorsed by the ADA. This oil raises healthy (HDL) cholesterol levels and has the most monounsaturated fatty acids of any of the natural oils. Olive oil’s low smoke point means it is best used for low-temp cooking or for salad dressings and sauces.
Coconut oil is another great source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), the healthy fatty acid. Some of the healthiest cultures around the globe use lots of coconut oil in their diets. One study done on the Tokelauans (a country in the south Pacific) found low levels of cholesterol because of the higher amounts of fat they consumed. The lauric acid found in coconuts is also antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal. The marketing campaigns by the corn and soy industry, in the 70’s, still affect the common “nutritional” beliefs that coconut oil and saturated fat are bad for us. It’s this type of marketing disguised as science that has led to us one of the highest obesity rates of any nation. Corn and soy oils happen to be some of the highest in polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) which are high in the pro-inflammatory omega-6’s, both of which are not good for us. Stick to virgin, unrefined coconut oils for the healthiest choices.
HERBS AND SPICES
Spices are truly a gift to cooking and to your health. Most spices are relatively affordable and can add a great deal of flavor to even the most pedestrian of dishes. The spices listed below have macronutrients (calories, fat, sugar, etc.) at levels of low to none and come with varied healing benefits as their “side effects.” Those folks who are heat intolerant of chili’s need not shy away – these kinds of spices have flavor without setting your face on fire. If you’re coming off of the SAD (standard American diet) it could take some time for your taste buds to readjust to whole foods with flavor profiles beyond just fat and salt.
STEVIA: THE DIABETIC’S SPICE
Some may have heard of stevia, but it is still lacking in presence when compared to the artificial sweeteners on the market. Stevia is native to South America but is being cultivated around the world. It is a natural plant that happens to be quite sweet and pictured above. Stevia has no calories, when used in a pure extract form, does not cause dental problems, like sugar, and has been shown to reduce post postprandial blood sugar spikes. A study done by a panel of medical doctors at the University of Florida found that those participants in the stevia group consumed much less food than compared to those in the sugar group. They also found that the stevia group had much lower postprandial blood sugar levels than the sugar group did. Amazon and some grocery stores have the pure liquid stevia extract. Avoid Stevia In The Raw® at all costs – it has dextrose in it. Dextrose is a sugar (easy to spot since it ends in -ose) derived from corn, one of the top six inflammatory foods.
TURMERIC: NATURE’S PAIN RELIEVER
The bundle of roots from this plant are often dried or used fresh as a spice in food, a dietary supplement, or topical ointment. Turmeric is native to India which is why it is an ingredient in so many India dishes. It has been documented for its healing properties for thousands of years without a side effect or overdose ever documented. A mind-blowing study published in the ADA Diabetes Care journal back in 2012 showed great promise with turmeric and its active component, curcumin. They concluded the following: “A 9-month curcumin intervention in a prediabetic population significantly lowered the number of prediabetic people who eventually developed T2DM. In addition, the curcumin treatment appeared to improve overall function of β-cells, with very minor adverse effects. Therefore, this study demonstrated that the curcumin intervention in a prediabetic population may be beneficial.” You could add turmeric to every meal you consume, but a more effective way to get more curcumin in your diet is through dietary supplements. This is the reason curcumin falls in the top three supplements we suggest for diabetics. Turmeric is truly a healing and one of the best foods for diabetics.
CINNAMON FOR BLOOD SUGAR CONTROL
Cinnamon is a spice made from the sweet bark of trees. It is dried and sold in sticks or ground for convenience and comes in several varieties. Studies show that cinnamon is beneficial to controlling postprandial blood sugar levels. Stick to Ceylon or Saigon for the best results. Most types of cinnamon served in coffee shops is the sweet Saigon version. Max dosage: 1tsp per day.
IT’S ALWAYS TEA TIME
You do not need to be British to reap the benefits of daily tea consumption. It’s a great substitute for weaning yourself off of heavy coffee drinking. Tea, unlike coffee, comes with some widely studied and documented health benefits. This study concluded that drinking black tea daily lowered stress biomarkers, increased total antioxidant capacity, and decreased C-reactive protein in type 2 diabetics. And this is why tea is one of the best foods for diabetics. C-reactive protein is found in your blood stream and increases with inflammation, meaning that tea helped to decrease this effect, which is a good thing. Black tea has also been identified to increase relaxation and lower your cortisol levels, which is your stress hormone. Oolong tea, which is widely consumed in China, has been found to increase fat burning in men (sorry ladies). A study of over 40,000 people in Japan found that drinking green tea greatly reduced your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Green tea has also been found to have “a small, positive effect on weight loss and weight maintenance.” Tea is often heavily sprayed with pesticides, so buying organic is important to maximize the health benefits. Loose leaf tea is always the cheapest option, although it requires a tea strainer. Check out the teas we have listed on our shopping guide.
There are several types of mint – peppermint, spearmint, wild mint, and even chocolate mint. This plant is easy to grow and a good staple in every home garden since it thrives on neglect. Herbalists have long known that mint flavors and smells can be used as a mild natural stimulant and an appetite suppressant. In the recent past, we have had a few studies on how the mint smell can affect your appetite. A study at the Wheeling Jesuit University concluded: “The primary implication of these results is that peppermint scent can be used as an effective adjunct to decrease appetite, decrease hunger cravings, and consume fewer calories, which may lead to weight reduction and greater overall health.” It was specifically the scent that made the difference, not necessarily eating the mint. Conversely, chewing mint gum or sucking on a mint will not produce the same result. To replicate this result, use pure peppermint oil extract and an ultrasonic oil diffuser. I have tried it before and a few inhales of mint will certainly block the path in your brain from food cravings. It’s a better, safer choice than suffering delayed cardiac arrest from using fen-phen or other speedy weight loss pills.
MEAT AND FISH
Meat quality varies the greatest of all healing foods. Good meat is expensive but it does come with some health benefits, whereas bad meat will reliably decrease your health. Chicken has high levels of vitamin B, as does beef, along with being high sources of protein, the building block of muscles. Lamb is nearly always pasture-raised and has excellent omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and zinc. The fat in lamb is mostly monounsaturated, which is a good type of fat. Turkey can actually help balance post-meal insulin secretion for more even blood sugar numbers. It’s no accident that turkey shows up often on this diabetic meal plan! It’s one of the best foods for diabetics.
Bone broth has got much press lately in the news and with good reason. This simple to make and affordable foodstuff has been used in cultures for thousands of years for its flavor and healing powers. Broth is an excellent source of protein, fats, vitamins and minerals. By using joints and knuckles in a broth, it’s possible to extract natural and potent sources of gelatin. Gelatin is helpful for skin health, proper digestion, strong bones and fighting arthritis. Broth can be made from red meat or poultry or fish. Some stores sell it pre-made, but it’s easy to make at home and can be used in any recipe that calls for broth or stock. Bone broth is a perfect base for simple soups.
Fish and seafood are well-known for being a healthy piece of protein in a meal. Salmon and tuna are packed selenium, magnesium, potassium, and protein, not to mention high levels of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Research studies have shown that fish oil can be as potent as ibuprofen for arthritic relief while being a safer source than NSAIDs, with no known side effects. Sardines are one of the highest concentrated source of omega-3’s and with the least amount of mercury and other absorbed toxins from the sea. It’s best to buy wild caught fish. Check out Seafood Watch and their searchable database of sustainable fish & shellfish by the Monterey Bay Aquarium. You can search by fish type or by one of their state by state guides. They also have convenient & free smart phone apps to use in the grocery store, fish market or farmers’ markets. Making wise seafood choices has never been easier.
PUTTING THIS TO GOOD USE
Hopefully you are more informed on picking best foods for diabetics reversing their disease. Please understand the context of healing foods. They should be eaten on a regular basis but are not substitutes for medication, such as metformin. Whole foods can supply a long and steady supply of nutrients to repair damage from highly processed, inflammatory foods which make up the standard American diet (SAD). Let your physician know if you are making changes to your diet that could affect the medications you are taking. If your biomarkers are showing improvement, your medications should be reduced under the discretion of your medical professional.
SHARING IS CARING
Has this article helped you learn more about the best foods for diabetics? If you enjoyed this article, others may also find it useful. If we’ve earned it, can we kindly ask that you share this article online or through email? A referral is the greatest compliment a customer can give a business and we thank you for helping us spread the good word to the millions who suffer from this troubling disease.
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References: Healing With Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition and Healing Foods
We sit on our commutes. We sit at our work (or our school). We sit some more on our commute home. And then we sit and watch hours of television. All of this sitting is killing you and wreaks havoc on the human body. If you sit for more than 6 hours per day you are 64% more likely to die from heart disease. Sadly, our culture has had an ever-increasing amount of sedentary behavior. More people work at desk jobs in offices than ever before. It takes a concerted effort to keep active both at work (or school) and at home. Thankfully, with some light exercise (think: walking) a few times during your day you can undo most of the effects of sitting and work on reversing your diabetes through weight loss.
HOW SITTING IS KILLING YOU
Our bodies are not designed for extended periods of sitting, even with moderate exercise. Until recently, our civilization has been primarily based on agriculture. Farming without modern machinery is a very active task requiring a taxing amount of physical labor throughout the day. In addition to the bending over, lifting, squatting and the digging required by manual farming our bodies are also designed for walking and running. The early days of hunting most likely involved running after injured or slow animals. Our ancestors did not get long spells of time on their keisters. The concept of commuting and working at a desk are two modern byproducts from the industrial revolution.
Okay, so our bodies are not that of sloths or hibernating bears, by design, but exactly what is so bad about sitting all day at work? When you first sit down the body’s position prevents full electrical activity in the legs. Your metabolism also slows down its calorie burning to a mere 1 calorie per minute, quite possibly the lowest rate of your entire day. Sitting for prolonged periods of time will even drop the effectiveness of your insulin and raise your risk of getting, or maintaining, Type 2 Diabetes. Read more about the pitfalls of sitting on the infographic below.
TAKE A STAND AGAINST SITTING!
As someone important in my childhood once told me, “knowing is half the battle”. Adding in some activity to your day will not only help reduce the harmful effects of sitting but also aid in your battle to reverse your diabetes (or prediabetes).
If you live close enough to work, consider walking or biking instead of driving. This daily activity adds up quickly to get in more activity without having to make a planned effort to drag yourself to the gym. For those out of shape, it’s very important to not give up before getting started. If your commute is easy one way and harder the other, try commuting the easy way leg first then adding in the harder other leg once you can. For example, my office is down a large hill which makes walking or biking to work easy. On the way home, I catch the bus up the hill or grab a ride from a coworker to the top of the hill. There’s a few times in life when it’s okay to half-ass it to start building a habit.
Workdays can get busy and it can be a challenge to stay active during the day. After spending 15+ years in the office world myself, I find myself struggling as well. Some tricks I have fostered to keep my blood flowing during the day are these:
- Take regular walks. Use your smart phone or email calendar to put in a reminder or alarm. I stand at least every hour and/or try to go outside for a 15 minute walk every 1.5 hours. Consider using a pedometer to track your paces throughout the day.
- Walk after lunch. Your blood sugar levels rise after eating. This is one of the best times to take a light walk for 15-30 minutes. Burning the sugar in your bloodstream will prevent your liver from converting it into body fat for use later. Come ready for inclement weather and only stay inside if there’s a weather alert.
- Use a standing desk. The advantages are many and the setup is easy. A bonus of using a standing desk is that you will burn more calories compared to sitting.
- Always use the stairs. We have a few elevators in our 3-story building, but the stairs are the only thing I let myself use. The exception is when you’re injured or carrying something heavy. Stairs are great exercise, too; look below to see the difference in calorie burning.
- Use the farthest away bathroom. We all take many trips to the bathroom throughout the day, so why not add some more steps to it. Figure out the bathroom that requires the most steps and pretend the others do not exist.
- If you drive, park far away. This hack is similar to my bathroom trick above. Find the spot in the parking lot furthest away from the entrance. These small amounts of steps will add up over time.
BEHOLD, THE STANDING DESK
The raised desk has gained in popularity the past few years and with good reason – it works! It’s easy once you find one within your budget that meets your ergonomic needs. It never hurts to discuss this with your facility folks or your boss, whatever the case might be. I was fortunate enough to have one customized to the height that I needed due to my chronic back problems. The first step is to determine your desk height from this handy ergonomic calculator.
There’s two routes to take on this gravity defying endeavor – DIY or store-bought. I’ve seen several coworkers just raise their monitor up on boxes or crates. It’s effective but not the most presentable. Some easier and appearance conscious options are to hack some furniture parts together from Ikea. This worked for me in my home office. I just used a desk that was intended for sitting and swapped the desk for the higher up shelf to my desired height. Here’s a cheaper version of an Ikea hacked solution.
Store bought versions are preferable when you’re at a formal workplace or do not want the hassle of figuring out Ikea cartoon instructions. Ergotron makes some popular models in many different configurations. UpLift makes a slick electronically controlled desk, but it is not cheap. It is the newer version of desks that are being installed in our office space. They do dual duty since they can be lowered to alternate between sitting and standing. And, of course, there are some options on Amazon that arrive with free shipping. The Safco Stand Up workstation is good for those with a desktop or printer. It’s adjustable in height, too. A sleek alternative for those with laptops is the iCraze Adjustable Stand. It’s vented to prevent overheating and works nicely in bed or on top of any table or desk. If the floor under your standing desk is not soft, consider buying a nice standing mat. It does increase your stand time significantly.
SHARING IS CARING
Has this article helped you learn more about how sitting is killing you? If you enjoyed this article, others may also find it useful. If we’ve earned it, can we kindly ask that you share this article online or through email? A referral is the greatest compliment a customer can give a business and we thank you for helping us spread the good word to the millions who suffer from this troubling disease.
Photos by Fotolia.