Diabetes diagnosis can be scary, but some may also find relief to have answers for their health complaints.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes results from problems with the pancreatic hormone, insulin, which controls the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood, and the rate at which the glucose is absorbed into cells for energy. Type 1 diabetics rely on insulin medication due to the body “attacking itself”, destroying the insulin producing cells. Type 2 Diabetes is not dependant on insulin and may be controlled with diet and exercise, or medication.
“The condition is something to take seriously and there are a few things you can try to reduce your chances of experiencing the possible side effects,” says Lifestream naturopath Karin Spicer.
Here are Karin’s tips for supporting the body naturally following a diabetes diagnosis:
New Zealand BlackCurrant
Blurry vision is often one of the first warning signs of diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy affects blood vessels in the light sensitive tissue called the retina that lines the back of the eyes. It is the most common cause of vision loss among diabetics. Early detection and treatment is important, as is looking after the health of your eyes. New Zealand blackcurrants contain high levels of purple/blue anthocyanins (up to three times the amount from other countries). These are powerful antioxidants that localise in the eye area to neutralize free radicals and prevent oxidative damage. Blackcurrant extracts help the microcapillary circulation to assist with eye health, including eye strain and eye fatigue from long term computer use.
Heart disease and poor circulation are common in diabetic sufferers, both of which may lead to kidney damage. Ginger, hawthorn, gingko, cayenne and garlic are all herbs that help to encourage good circulation and support a healthy heart and cardiovascular system. As poor circulation can also lead to skin ulcers—especially legs and feet—it is important to get blood moving and keep arteries and veins in top working order. Along with the herbs, daily exercise and skin brushing before showering can help keep circulation flowing to reduce the risks of nerve damage from lack of blood flow.
High protein, low carb diets have been shown to support a slower release of glucose into the blood, helping to support healthy blood sugar levels. The trend on international diabetic support sites is leaning towards the recommendation of plant based proteins over animal proteins with high fat content. The plant-based protein contains fibre to slow glucose release, resulting in a more alkaline internal environment. They are also easier for the kidneys to process. Try plant based protein from grains, legumes, algae and seeds such as rice, golden pea, spirulina or chia.
Ultimate Green Foods
Since diabetes may result in acidic blood and general toxicity, the alkalising and detoxifying effects of chlorophyll-rich foods can help with overall health and the prevention of escalated symptoms. Try barley grass, wheatgrass, chlorella and spirulina.
Fibre in a diabetic diet has many positives. Firstly, it slows down the release of glucose in the bloodstream, assisting the pancreas to do a steady job instead of a quick intensive response, which is better for energy levels and our sustained good health. Secondly, it sweeps our bowels helping to remove a build-up of toxic waste. The knock-on effect of clean bowels is better absorption of nutrients for healing and energy for our cells. Psyllium is a good fibre for daily intake. Make sure you drink your six to eight glasses of water each day when taking fibre, as it needs the water to do its job.
It is best to avoid smoking, as this restricts blood vessels and slows circulation. Coffee intake should be limited to reduce hypoglycaemic episodes (low blood sugar).
Lifestream High Potency Circulate
Lifestream Essential Protein
Lifestream Ultimate Greens
Lifestream Bowel Biotics Fibre with prebiotics and probiotics