Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Treatment Tuesday - Diabetes

Diabetes is all too common in the United States. The American diet is high in sugars, carbohydrates, and fats that cause or contribute to high blood sugar. Excess caffeine can, indirectly by way of the thyroid, contribute to hormonal imbalances that cause diabetes. Some of the symptoms include:
  • Frequent urination
  • Thirst
  • Blurred vision
  • Weight loss accompanied by increased appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Headaches
What Causes Diabetes?

Simply put, diabetes is caused by high blood sugar, or “too much glucose in the blood.” This is a problem with insulin, whose job is to carry blood sugar into the cells of the body. A lack of insulin or faulty insulin response by the cells results in too much glucose in the blood. Another cause of diabetes is simply too much sugar intake— especially fructose. Here is a summary of the causes of diabetes:
  • Diet: Too much sugar. Too much fat. Too much caffeine.
  •  Obesity: Often resulting from dietary problems, obesity can cause a loop of insulin and hormonal problems that can cause or worsen diabetes.
  • Thyroid imbalance: Hormonal imbalances from thyroid and adrenal problems can affect insulin response and cause or contribute to diabetes.
  •  Poor liver health: If the liver cannot cleanse the blood and process excess blood sugar, the result is diabetes.
  •  Chronic use of steroids: These drugs can change your body chemistry and cause or worsen diabetes.

A new set of dietary habits is the first line of defense against diabetes. Here is a summary of these dietary strategies, along with some other natural treatments:
  • Avoid sugars: Sugars come in the form of sucrose (cane sugar), lactose (dairy products), fructose (fruit and corn syrup), corn starch, dextrose, glucose (usually glucose is converted by the body from other sugars), sorbitol, and malt.
  • Reduce carbohydrates and starches: The body converts starches from carbohydrates into glucose. Avoid simple carbs, which include fruit, fruit juice, dairy products, honey, and sugars. Also avoid peanut butter, soybean oil, cheese, and processed meat. Keep complex carbohydrate consumption under control, including breads, pasta, beans, grains and fibrous vegetables (squash and eggplant, for example). Remember that whole wheat products are better than refined products. Better yet, replace wheat with other grains, such as oats, bran, rye, and barley.
  • Eat more low-glycemic food: Healthy foods for maintaining good blood sugar levels include green leafy vegetables, potatoes, yams, whole grain breads, nuts, legumes, chicken, and fish. Raw foods have a lower glycemic level than cooked foods.
  • Take herbs to help control blood sugar: Herbs that help include fenugreek, garlic, bilberry, ginseng, and olive leaves (or extract). Other helpful supplements for diabetes include chromium, vanadium, cinnamon, and bitter melon.
  • Strengthen your immune system: Concentrate especially on getting enough antioxidants, as they help prevent free radical damage that causes many common diabetes complications (blindness and the necessity of limb amputation). Spirulina provides vitamins and minerals, while helping to balance blood sugar.
  • Cleanse: If you crave sweets, you may be suffering from a lack of protein or you might have parasites in your system. Cleansing your liver and colon cannot only help with these cravings, but can help reduce your blood sugar levels by providing better nutrient absorption.

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