A healthy diet is extremely important for anyone, but it’s especially important for diabetics. Many foods we consume are turned into glucose (sugar), which the body uses for energy during the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
When the pancreas fails to produce the hormone insulin, blood sugar cannot get into the body’s cells. (Fortunately, you can help to prevent and even reverse this condition with the diabetes-fighting foods listed below!
According to the annual National Diabetes Statistics Report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 9.3% of Americans suffer from type 1 or type 2 diabetes—that’s more than 29 million people!
In fact, it is the seventh most common cause of death in the U.S. The disease can also snowball, and lead to many other serious health conditions, including blindness, nerve disorders, stroke, kidney disease, and heart disease.
Natural Foods That Reverse Diabetes
Luckily, diabetics can help reverse the condition with simple dietary changes. Food is definitely an important medicine for people with diabetes. What you eat can make all the difference between reversing the disease or making the condition even worse.
What foods should diabetics avoid?
They are likely some former favorites, such as bacon, French fries, and dairy products. A person with diabetes should stay away from processed foods, especially refined carbohydrates. For instance, pizza night should likely be canceled.
Other high-glycemic-index foods diabetics should avoid include many wheat flour products, white potatoes, white rice, candy, sodas, many cereal products, and especially sugar itself. Alcohol and caffeine consumption should also be limited. Fruits high in natural sugar, such as bananas, peaches, and nectarines, should also be avoided.
Instead, you should focus on low-glycemic-load foods that reverse diabetes and control your blood sugar levels. The best anti-diabetes diet should mainly include whole, nutrient-dense, and natural foods that contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, and also help to detoxify the body.
So what foods are appropriate for a natural diabetes treatment?
9 Leafy Greens: Superheroes of the Diabetic’s Plate
Leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. They are also foods that rank low on the glycemic index, which means that they help to stabilize blood sugar levels. Researchers believe that a deficiency in magnesium reduces insulin production and increases insulin resistance.
Broccoli, spinach, collard greens, and other leafy green vegetables are high sources of magnesium, and can help combat magnesium deficiency complications. These green vegetables are also good sources of dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc.
Evidence also shows leafy greens are among the top foods that reverse diabetes. In a 2014 meta-analysis published in the journal BMJ Open, researchers found that the consumption of green leafy vegetables can drastically lower type 2 diabetes risk.
Broccoli, in particular, contains specific chemicals that may help prevent damaged blood vessels in diabetics. In a study published in the journal Diabetes in 2008, researchers found that the sulforaphanes in broccoli promote the production of the protective enzymes that limit diabetes-induced cell damage.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death for diabetics, and conditions such as strokes and heart attacks are largely associated with blood vessel damage. The increased consumption of cruciferous vegetables therefore reduces cardiovascular disease risk in diabetics.
Broccoli sprouts are also important foods that reverse diabetes. The sulforaphanes in broccoli sprouts are actually 20-times more potent than broccoli. In a 2012 randomized double-blind study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, broccoli sprout powder significantly improved insulin resistance in type 2 diabetic patients. The study observed 63 diabetics during the month-long trial. Another four-week trial from 2011 found that broccoli sprout powder reduced oxidative stress in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Sulforaphanes also play an important role in the body’s natural detoxification processes. The phytochemicals help enzymes transform destructive cancerous chemicals into easy-to-eliminate substances.
Swiss chard, kale, green cabbage, arugula, and romaine lettuce are other nutrient-dense leafy greens that can help you reverse diabetes naturally.
9 Spices and Herbs to Reduce Diabetes in a Healthier Way
What spices and herbs can benefit diabetes patients? You can still enjoy eating without high-glycemic and sugary condiments. There are two spices that are especially excellent herbal remedies for diabetes. They are cinnamon and turmeric.
Heavy research supports that cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia) is an important spice to help reduce blood sugar levels. In a 2013 meta-analysis published in the journal Annals of Family Medicine, researchers found that cinnamon reduced fasting blood sugar. The cinnamon also displayed cardiovascular effects.
It reduced total cholesterol, “bad” LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, and it increased “good” HDL (high density lipoprotein) cholesterol. The meta-analysis included 10 randomized controlled trials with 543 diabetic patients, taking between 120 milligrams to six grams per dose of cinnamon for a four- to 18-week duration.
What about turmeric (Curcuma longa)? It has been used in Ayurvedic herbal medicine and traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. It is known as a detoxification herb for liver protection, and it also famously contains potent anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric contains a bioactive compound, curcumin, which is responsible for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ability.
According to research published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research in 2013, curcumin reduces inflammation and prevents insulin resistance–associated problems like liver disease and atherosclerosis. Curcumin and turmeric supplementation have also lowered oxidative stress in diabetic rats within other studies.
How can you incorporate turmeric and cinnamon into your anti-diabetic meals? The spice is perfect for many Indian-oriented dishes, scrambled eggs or tofu, brown rice dishes, and vegetable soups, or you can sauté them with some vegetables. Cinnamon is a great breakfast spice to sprinkle over fruits or low-glycemic buckwheat and blueberry pancakes. Turmeric or cinnamon are also ideal spices for great anti-diabetic tea or smoothie options.
Want to add other anti-diabetic spices to your meal? Fenugreek, ginger, garlic, cumin, ginseng,bilberry, and cayenne pepper are other herbal remedies for diabetes.
11 Fruits and Vegetables to Reverse Diabetes
It is well established that a wide variety of fruits and vegetables are important for a natural diabetes treatment. They are rich in antioxidants and fiber, which help reverse diabetes naturally. In a prospective study published in the journal Diabetes Care in 2012, researchers found that a diet with high amounts of vegetables and a variety of veggies and fruits helped reduce type 2 diabetes risk.
More specifically, blueberries, Indian gooseberries, and mango leaves are some fruits that are proven to help reverse diabetes.
Blueberries contain the natural chemical anthocyanins, which stimulate the release of the hormone adiponectin. As a result, heightened adiponectin levels help regulate blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity. Blueberries are also high in fiber, which can help you lose weight and reverse diabetes naturally.
The Indian gooseberry (Emblica officinalis) is also known as amla or amalaki fruit. It is considered one of the strongest rejuvenative herbs within Ayurvedic medicine. The fruit can hel:
- Regulate blood sugar levels
- Reduce hyperglycemia
- Cardiac complications
- Diabetic nephropathy
- and promote proper pancreas function
Amla fruit is high in vitamin C and contains other important antioxidants, such as gallic acid, ellagic acid, corilagin, and gallotanin. Indian gooseberry powder may also increase HDL cholesterol and reduce LDL cholesterol levels.
Mango leaves are one of the great foods that reverse diabetes. They have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for many years. They help with insulin regulation in the blood and the reduction of blood sugar levels. Mango leaf tea is also easy to prepare; just boil three or four mango leaves in a cup of water and enjoy!
Other low-glycemic-index fruits and vegetables that can help prevent or reverse diabetes areapples, grapes, grapefruit, strawberries, oranges, tomatoes, onions, and mushrooms.
9 Nuts, Grains, and Beans That Fight Diabetes
Certain nuts, grains, and beans are low in glycemic load and are essential foods that reverse diabetes.
Nuts, such as walnuts, are welcome additions to an anti-diabetic diet. They can reduce inflammation with the polyunsaturated fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid. They also contain antioxidant, antiviral, anti-high cholesterol, and anti-cancer properties, which reverse diabetes progression. In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2013, researchers suggested that high walnut consumption may lower the risk in type 2 diabetes in women. The researchers observed 58,063 women between the ages 52 and 77, and 79,893 women ages 35 to 52 within two large cohort studies. There were 5,930 type 2 diabetes cases after a 10-year follow-up.
Fibrous whole grains are considered a good anti-diabetic option and refined grain alternative.Quinoa is a nutritious seed that contains phytochemicals, which can help balance your blood sugar. Some studies also link quinoa consumption to the reduction of other factors associated with diabetics, such as total cholesterol levels and triglycerides levels. Quinoa, and other whole grains like oats, amaranth, barley, brown and wild rice, and buckwheat, may also help diabetic patients control their appetite and reverse diabetes.
Cannellini beans are also considered a good legume option that won’t raise your blood sugar levels. They also contain large amounts of soluble fiber and protein. In general, legumes are considered low-glycemic-index foods that reverse diabetes naturally. In a 2012 randomized, controlled study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, daily low-glycemic bean consumption dropped average blood sugar levels twice as much as whole grains. The study observed 121 type 2 diabetic patients for a three-month period.
3 Protein-Rich Anti-Diabetic Foods for Your Daily Breakfast
Protein breakfasts will give you energy to start the day. Organic eggs, brown rice protein powder, and nut butters are good options.
How to Plan Your Anti-Diabetes Diet
It is smart to plan ahead for a natural treatment for diabetes. Here are a few tips:
- Eat every four hours. This will help normalize glucose and insulin levels.
- Stop eating at least two or three hours before bedtime.
- You can improve insulin sensitivity and sugar metabolism with a daily exercise regimen. Simple exercises like walking can help reverse diabetes naturally and are a great complement to your anti-diabetes diet.
- Finally, it is also best to work with a holistic nutritionist or registered dietitian to develop the most appropriate anti-diabetes diet for you.
Anti-Diabetes Foods Table: 41 Foods that Reverse Diabetes
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