Diabetes: What is it? & Recommended Foods For Diabetes

What is Diabetes? Diabetes can strike anyone, from any walk..

Diabetes: What is it? & Recommended Foods For Diabetes

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes can strike anyone, from any walk of life.

And it does – in numbers that are dramatically increasing. In the last decade, the cases of people living with diabetes jumped almost 50 percent – to more than 29 million Americans.  

Worldwide, it afflicts more than 380 million people.  And the World Health Organization estimates that by 2030, that number of people living with diabetes will more than double.  

Today, diabetes takes more lives than AIDS and breast cancer combined — claiming the life of 1 American every 3 minutes.  It is a leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, amputations, heart failure and stroke. 

Living with diabetes places an enormous emotional, physical and financial burden on the entire family. Annually, diabetes costs the American public more than $245 billion. 

Just what is diabetes?  

To answer that, you first need to understand the role of insulin in your body.  

When you eat, your body turns food into sugars, or glucose. At that point, your pancreas is supposed to release insulin.  

Insulin serves as a “key” to open your cells, to allow the glucose to enter — and allow you to use the glucose for energy.  

But with diabetes, this system does not work.  

Several major things can go wrong – causing the onset of diabetes. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are the most common forms of the disease, but there are also other kinds, such as gestational diabetes, which occurs during pregnancy, as well as other forms.  

What is Type 1 Diabetes?

The more severe form of diabetes is type 1, or insulin-dependent diabetes. It’s sometimes called “juvenile” diabetes, because type 1 diabetes usually develops in children and teenagers, though it can develop at any age.  

Immune System Attacks

With type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks part of its own pancreas. Scientists are not sure why. But the immune system mistakenly sees the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas as foreign, and destroys them. This attack is known as “autoimmune” disease.

These cells – called “islets” (pronounced EYE-lets) – are the ones that sense glucose in the blood and, in response, produce the necessary amount of insulin to normalize blood sugars.

Insulin serves as a “key” to open your cells, to allow the glucose to enter — and allow you to use the glucose for energy.  

Without insulin, there is no “key.”   So, the sugar stays — and builds up– in the blood. The result: the body’s cells starve from the lack of glucose.  

And, if left untreated, the high level of “blood sugar” can damage eyes, kidneys, nerves, and the heart, and can also lead to coma and death. 

Insulin Therapy

So, a person with type 1 treats the disease by taking insulin injections.

This outside source of insulin now serves as the “key” — bringing glucose to the body’s cells. 

The challenge with this treatment is that it’s often not possible to know precisely how much insulin to take. The amount is based on many factors, including:

  • Food
  • Exercise
  • Stress
  • Emotions and general health

 

Balancing Act 

These factors fluctuate greatly throughout every day. So, deciding on what dose of insulin to take is a complicated balancing act.  

If you take too much, then your body burns too much glucose — and your blood sugar can drop to a dangerously low level. This is a condition called hypoglycemia, which, if untreated, can be potentially life-threatening.  

If you take too little insulin, your body can again be starved of the energy it needs, and your blood sugar can rise to a dangerously high level — a condition called hyperglycemia. This also increases the chance of long-term complications.

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

The most common form of diabetes is called type 2, or non-insulin dependent diabetes.

This is also called “adult onset” diabetes, since it typically develops after age 35. However, a growing number of younger people are now developing type 2 diabetes.  

People with type 2 are able to produce some of their own insulin. Often, it’s not enough. And sometimes, the insulin will try to serve as the “key” to open the body’s cells, to allow the glucose to enter. But the key won’t work. The cells won’t open. This is called insulin resistance.  

Often, type 2 is tied to people who are overweight, with a sedentary lifestyle.  

Treatment focuses on diet and exercise. If blood sugar levels are still high, oral medications are used to help the body use its own insulin more efficiently. In some cases, insulin injections are necessary.

Here are some recommended foods:

Brewer’s Yeast

Brewer’s yeast is a wonder food. It is rich in traces of mineral chromium. This mineral helps the pancreas produce more insulin.

It is one of the best supports for normal handling of sugar by the body.

According to an article by Dr. Richard J. Doisy and others, which appeared in the Medical World News, Brewer’s yeast has lowered the insulin requirements of many diabetes patients.

Broccoli

Broccoli, a close relation of the cauliflower, has long been a popular food in Europe.

This vegetable has proved to be an effective anti-diabetic food. It is rich source of chromium, a trace mineral that seems to lower blood sugar.

This trace mineral regulates blood sugar, thereby often reducing the medication and insulin needs of diabetes. In cases of mild diabetes, chromium may prevent the onset of the full-fledged disease.

If a person’s glucose tolerance is on border, chromium can help control it. Even low blood sugar levels can be brought to normal with chromium.

Curd

Curd injects friendly bacteria in to the digestive system that stimulate the pancreas. It also washes the pancreas of its acids and wastes.

These cleansing actions enable the pancreas to perform much better and thereby help in the production of insulin.

Garlic

In scientific trials garlic and its constituents have been found to lower blood sugar in diabetes.

This vegetable is rich in potassium, which effectively replaces the large quantities of potassium lost in the urine of diabetics.

It also contains zinc and sulphur, which are constituents of insulin. Some authorities believe that low levels of zinc may be one of the factors responsible for the onset of diabetes.

Garlic also contains manganese, a deficiency of which can contribute towards diabetes.

Garlic constituents appear to act by blocking the inactivation of insulin in the liver. The result is higher blood insulin levels and lower blood sugar.

Garlic has other benefits for diabetes besides lowering blood sugar. It prevents arteriosclerosis, which is a common complication of diabetes and relieves body paid.

Diabetics can take the equivalent of one or two cloves of garlic a day in any form they like, either raw or cooked in food or as capsules.

Garlic milk, prepared by adding four cloves of crushed garlic to 110 ml of milk, is one good way of taking garlic.

The best way, however, is to chew raw garlic thoroughly first thing in the morning.

Bengal Gram

Bengal gram, also known as chickpea, is a widely used important component of Indian diet.

It is a valuable anti-diabetic food. Experiments have shown that the oral ingestion of the water extract of Bengal gram increases the utilization of glucose in diabetics as well as normal people.

In a study conducted at Central Food Technological Research Institute in Mysore, the requirement of insulin of chronic diabetes patients decreased from 40 units a day to 20 units, when kept on a diet which included liberal supplements of Bengal gram extract.

Diabetic patients who are on a restricted diet, which does not severely limit the intake of carbohydrates but includes liberal amounts of Bengal gram extract, have shown considerable improvement in their fasting blood sugar levels, glucose tolerance, urinary excretion of sugar and general condition.

Bitter Gourd

The bitter gourd is a common vegetable cultivated extensively. It has excellent medicinal virtues. This vegetable has been used as fold medicine for diabetes from ancient times.

Research has established that it contains insulin like principle designated as plant-insulin, which has been found beneficial in lowering blood and urine sugar levels.

Bitter gourd is thus and effective anti-diabetic food and should be included liberally in the diet of a diabetic.

Juice of three or four bitter gourds taken every morning on an empty stomach has been found more effective than eating fruits.

The seeds of bitter gourd can be powdered and added to regular meals. A decoction prepared by boiling chopped bitter gourd is water is equally effective, as is its dry powder mixed with liquid foods.

Bitter gourd is rich in all essential vitamins and minerals especially vitamins A, B1, B2, C and iron.

Its regular use, therefore, prevents many complications associated with diabetes including hypertension, eye complications, neuritis and the defective metabolism of carbohydrates.

Black Gram

Black gram is a highly prized pulse in India. It is an anti diabetic food.

Germinated black gram taken with half a cup of fresh bitter gourd juice, forms and effective remedy for treating mild types of diabetes.

It should be taken once a day, for three to four months, with a restricted intake of carbohydrates.

In severe diabetes, regular use of this combination is an effective complement to other treatments.

It is also a useful health food for preventing complications due to malnutrition in diabetes.

Milk prepared by grinding sprouted whole black gram is also recommended for diabetics.

Groundnut

Groundnuts are valuable in diabetes.

Eating a handful of groundnuts daily by diabetics will not only prevent malnutrition, particularly the deficiency of niacin, but also checks the development of vascular complications.


Daniel Messer, RNutr, CPT

We eat clean, are always motivated and helpout beginners in need. We sell guides on Cutting, Bulking and Muscle Building. Checkout our website!

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