Welcome to Diabetes Prevention Thursdays! Today, let’s talk about 2 ingredients that help manage Type 2 Diabetes. If you have diabetes, then you know that it’s a disease that can have good days and bad days. Sometimes it can seem like your glucose readings are a rollercoaster of high and low numbers.
Diabetes is a serious condition, but it doesn’t mean that it’s uncontrollable. The science behind the label “diabetes” simply means that the person who has it can’t process glucose as effectively as someone without the disease can.
The way the condition works isn’t that complicated. Instead of the food a diabetic eats being turned into glucose and then absorbed into the bloodstream, a diabetic’s glucose remains in the bloodstream.
This process happens for one of two reasons. Either there’s a problem with the production of insulin or the body resists the insulin that is being produced. This is known as insulin resistance and it means the person’s body isn’t reacting like it’s supposed to when insulin is released.
There are numerous ways that diabetes can be managed – including eating healthy, non-carb loading meals, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising. Exercise can lower your blood glucose levels and help improve your body’s ability to utilize insulin. But there’s something more that can be done. There are also certain foods that can help with the management of Type 2 diabetes.
You can add two foods to your diet today and discover that it may help you keep your blood sugar in a healthier range. A study has shown that people with diabetes can lower their blood sugar by adding both garlic and onion to their diet. Both of these foods have a history of lowering glucose levels because of the sulfur compounds and other ingredients they contain. Even in people who have insulin resistance, the ingredients in garlic and onions can still lead to lowered blood sugar levels.
For people who want to add more onion to their diet, they can use yellow or red onions, or onion extract. Garlic can be added to meals from the natural clove form or it can be taken using a garlic extract. In the form of supplements, in addition to lowering blood glucose, the garlic can lower inflammation, blood pressure, heart disease and cholesterol.
By using garlic or onions or a combination of the two in some form, diabetics can prevent the risk of developing some of the more serious side effects of the disease. These side effects have been linked directly with higher blood glucose levels. Those who practice good diabetes control may not experience any complications from the disease.
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I wanted to talk about this topic because it is absolutely possible to prevent and even reverse Type 2 Diabetes (but you cannot reverse Type 1). Yes, it’s possible! and emerging studies looking at lifestyle medicine and prevention support this! But I always tell my patients that you must be dedicated and diligent in adopting a healthy lifestyle to get the best results. You can create certain behaviors and practices that will not only enrich your life, but that you can pass on to your family, friends, and community, to help break the cycle of this chronic disease so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.
I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle practices, such as eating a whole-food plant-based diet and regular physical activity, can help you improve your blood sugar levels, maybe reverse type 2 diabetes. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy. But I always tell my patients that conventional medications may be appropriate at this time to prevent catastrophic illness, but over time, you can work to make the necessary lifestyle changes to possibly reduce and/or eliminate medications. Please remember to always consult your physician for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any decisions whatsoever.
Tools For Diabetes Prevention and Monitoring
Blood Sugar Monitoring
As you know, I always stress the importance of taking control of your health. Monitoring your blood sugar levels is one of the best ways to do this. To do this, a single drop of blood is collected with disposable lancets and placed on a disposable test strip, which you insert into a home blood-sugar monitoring device, called a glucometer.
The common times for checking your blood sugar are when you first wake up (fasting), before a meal, 2 hours after a meal, and at bedtime; however, you should check your blood sugar as many times a day as your health care team suggests.
Monitoring your blood sugar level provides you and your doctors with important knowledge about how food, activity, medication, stress, and other elements might affect your blood sugar levels. This data will assist you and your doctor in developing a therapy plan that is suited to your demands.
Since weight management is very important in combatting chronic diseases such as diabetes, I recommend that you be mindful of your weight and its fluctuations, and that you monitor your weight AT LEAST on a weekly basis. I recommend a scale that includes a body composition monitor (*this scale cannot be used with a pacemaker or other implanted devices).
Physical activity (or exercise) can improve your health and reduce the risk of developing several chronic diseases like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, just to name a few. Physical activity actually improves insulin sensitivity. Physical activity can improve your mood, boost your immune system, and even help you maintain a healthy weight.
I often recommend yoga and resistance training for physical activity, but as you are aware, there are plenty of forms of “movement” that you can do! But for the basics, especially if you’re just getting started, yoga and resistance training are where I would start.
Yoga can be a great way to improve your strength and flexibility, manage your stress, improve your heart health, and lose weight! I recommend using a grounded yoga mat to connect yourself with the earth and reduce inflammation.
Resistance training is the mainstay for overall health. It not only has beneficial effects on reducing body fat, it also increases muscle size and strength. Here are some basic dumbbells/free weights that I recommend to everyone.
Remember, living a healthy lifestyle including eating a whole foods plant-based diet and regular physical activity are the best ways to prevent diabetes. Please talk with your doctor about any complementary health approaches, including supplements, you use. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.
PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.
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