Type 2 diabetes is on the rise. The International Diabetes Federation estimates that 1 in 11 (425 million) adults worldwide have diabetes. They also say that 1 in 2 adults with diabetes are undiagnosed (212 million). The IDF expects this number to rise to 592 million by 2035, when one in every 10 people will have the disease.
Diabetes Incidence Rises With Age
The likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes dramatically increases after the age of 45. The American Diabetic Association reports that diabetes affects about 25% of those aged 65 and older.
It’s true, there’s a genetic predisposition to developing type 2 diabetes. However, this metabolic disorder is primarily the result of the manner in which you live your life on a day to day basis. The following can contribute to your risk of developing pre-diabetes (insulin resistance) and diabetes:
- Inadequate sleep
- Being Overweight
- Poor dietary choices
Most of us know that making positive changes in our lifestyle improves our health. Yet change isn’t always easy. And we may not always realize just how great an impact small changes can make.
If you’re diabetic, pre-diabetic, or simply concerned about your risk of developing diabetes, you may be thinking that you should undergo a complete overhaul of your diet. Or perhaps you’re imagining imposing a Boot-Camp style workout regimen upon yourself. Of course healthy eating and increasing activity will certainly help, but there’s something even more simple you can start doing today to have a profound impact on your body’s ability to regulate its blood sugar.
Spice It Up
Mother nature, in her infinite wisdom, offers us several herbs and spices which do a tremendous job of naturally lowering blood sugar levels. Many of these natural compounds work as well, if not better, than the drugs commonly prescribed to treat type 2 diabetes. Remember, never stop taking any medication without consulting your doctor.
Here are three common spices well-researched, and proven, to help your body regulate blood glucose. They are easy to incorporate into your diet on a regular basis. They also operate as “multi-taskers,” producing other amazing overall health benefits.
Turmeric root is a rhizoid. It’s a bright yellow, earthy spice typically used in many traditional cuisines around the globe. Curry dishes happen to be my ultimate favorites.
The component of turmeric which has been most extensively studied for preventing type 2 diabetes is curcumin. It has been shown to help diabetics control their blood glucose and in studies when curcumin supplements were given to pre-diabetics, the majority of these people did not develop diabetes at all.
Turmeric contains up to about 3% curcumin by weight. So you certainly can benefit by purchasing curcumin in supplement form and I do recommend it. However, I have ultimate faith in Mother Nature, so incorporate whole turmeric root (ground spice) in your diet regularly.
Additional Benefits: Tumeric is used in cancer prevention and treatment; is extremely effective for reducing pain and inflammation;is cardio-protective; and improves cognitive function.
This lovely and aromatic spice is obtained from the soft bark of the cinnamon tree, a type of evergreen. Cinnamon and cinnamon extracts have been studied extensively. They’ve been shown to improve the ability of the body to recognize and respond to insulin, thus lowering blood glucose. The spice works in part by slowing the rate of gastric (stomach) emptying, which, in turn, slows the rise of glucose in the bloodstream.
Consumption of as little as 1/2 teaspoon per day can lower blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics.
Additional Benefits: Cinnamon has been shown to aid in lowering triglycerides, LDL and total cholesterol. It has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for its anti-microbial qualities, so it is effective in supporting the immune system and in the prevention of colds and flu. It has also been proven to halt the growth of Candida (yeast) and bacteria. Cinnamon enhances cognition and reduces systemic inflammation.
Ginger is also a rhizome, related to turmeric. The brown “root,” which runs underground, is the portion we use. Its core is fibrous and juicy. After peeling, it can be chopped, grated, minced, or ground.
Research has shown that it improves beta cell function–the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Ginger lowers fasting glucose levels. It also lowers HbA1C–the test that measures your average blood glucose for the past 90 days.
Additional Benefits: Ginger reduces nausea and motion sickness, relieves joint pain and inflammation, is an effective anti-fungal, and lowers cholesterol. One study demonstrated its effectiveness as a cognitive enhancer in middle-aged women.
Just a Spoonful
In many of the studies of these spices, the dosages were quite low, similar to the amounts used in culinary applications. Small amounts, just like small improvements in diet–including adding these spices to yours!–can have a big impact when it comes to prevention of type 2 diabetes. I incorporate these spices frequently by using them in teas, soups, stir-fries, curries, and salad dressings. Think of the traditional recipes, passed down through previous generations. Your grandmother’s favorite homemade dishes, which incorporate these and other spices, can benefit you in achieving your health goals and objectives. Naturally.
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