3 Tips to Lower Your Risk for Diabetes

Type II diabetes is rising at an alarming rate in this country, which is one reason November has been designated National Diabetes Month. Over 8% of the American population has diabetes according to the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet—and the number has surely grown! Of the two main types of diabetes, type II diabetes is by far the most common. So how can you control your blood sugar naturally and minimize your chances of getting diabetes? Start with what you eat, how you spice, and how you move!

As always, when beginning a new health plan, do not go off any medications or jump in head-first without first having a discussion with your physician.


Breaking it Down: What is Type II Diabetes?

How well do you understand type II diabetes? Let’s start with what happens in your body when you eat food. Your body converts carbohydrates from the food into a simple sugar called glucose, which is your body’s primary source of fuel. Then, the glucose passes into your bloodstream during digestion, which causes your blood glucose levels to rise—and this triggers the release of insulin. (Insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas that helps move the excess glucose from your bloodstream to your cells, where it is used for energy.) Diabetes is a condition in which your body cannot regulate blood sugar levels, and this results in an unhealthy buildup of glucose in the bloodstream; down the road, high blood glucose can lead to serious complications like heart disease, nerve damage, kidney failure, and decreased wound healing.

In type II diabetes specifically, your body’s cells become insensitive to insulin, which results in the rise of blood sugar. Another term for this is insulin resistance. The main way to manage diabetes is to keep the blood sugar levels as close to healthy as possible. In addition to the tips below, discover other ways to manage diabetes in The Natural Health Dictionary.

1. An Easy Spice Blend for Diabetes Support  

You may not realize that the answer to living without diabetes may be right under your nose in your very own kitchen cupboard! Spices and herbs flavor your food, and they also have amazing healing powers. This spice & herb blend is helpful for pre-diabetes and diabetes conditions. One standout ingredient is cinnamon, which has been linked to lowered blood sugar. Research has demonstrated improvement in insulin sensitivity with cinnamon polyphenols, as well as total and LDL cholesterol. It doesn’t hurt that it is tasty, too! Find out more about cinnamon in The Natural Health Dictionary.

Heart Health Spice & Herb Blend

The herbs and spices in this spice blend are an all-around heart support, helpful for heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, pre-diabetes conditions, and diabetes. You can easily mix this tasty spice blend yourself. Fresh is best: when possible, grind your own spices from the original dry source (think cinnamon sticks, white pepper corns, whole cloves). If a mortar and pestle is not your thing, use a coffee grinder. Store in a glass jar for up to a month. To use, simply add the spice blend to your meals just as you finish cooking the dish—about 1 minute before you turn off the heat. Add to your soups, stir-frys, fish and veggie dishes, and bean and grain dishes. Mix together in equal measure: 

• ground cinnamon

• fennel seed

• ground cloves

• ground star anise

• ground white pepper

• dried parsley

• ground ginger

• cayenne pepper

• turmeric

2. Eat a Balanced Diet

The key to maintaining normal sugar levels in the body is to eat a balanced diet of complex carbohydrates, organic sources of proteins, and good fats. Eat at regular intervals because skipping meals is a surefire way to cause blood glucose to bounce up and down. Eat more black beans, soybeans, tofu, garbanzo beans, mung beans, sweet potatoes, yams, peas, artichokes, pumpkin, celery, spinach, daikon radishes, cabbage, water chestnuts, millet, oats, amaranth, quinoa, bran, lentils, organic chicken, turkey, fish, egg whites, unsweetened low-fat yogurt, nuts, seeds, olive oil, flax seed oil, virgin coconut oil, and fresh berries. 

3. Make Your Move to Prevent Diabetes

A daily 30-minute cardiovascular activity that stimulates circulation, conditions the heart, and builds muscles will encourage your body to metabolize sugars properly, helping with diabetes prevention. Research has shown that tai chi or qi gong exercises benefit the hormonal system.

Try this time-tested qi gong exercise to help balance your blood sugar levels, strengthen your hormonal system, and avoid the significant complications of diabetes. I often recommend this simple walking exercise “Merry-Go-Around” to my patients to help with managing diabetes. Try to do it twice a day.

1. In a quiet outdoor setting find a thick-trunked tree with at least 5 feet of clear space around the trunk in all directions. Perform the following walking exercise for 15 minutes.

2. Walk with a relaxed, steady gait, keeping your hands raised to your trunk. Each time you complete a circle, change the position of your arms by slightly raising or lowering your hands in front or on the sides of your torso.  

3. For the first half of the exercise, walk clockwise around the tree. For the second half, walk counterclockwise.

I hope you spice up your diabetes management plan and get moving!

Much of the information in this article come from The Natural Health Dictionary, a comprehensive guide that answers all your questions about natural remedies, healing herbs, longevity foods, vitamins, and supplements. Also, you can find more ways to live a long and healthy life in Secrets of Longevity: Hundreds of Ways to Live to Be 100, which is now available on Kindle.

Follow me on Twitter to get insider tips and to ask your health questions.

I invite you to visit often and share your own personal health and longevity tips with me.

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

—Dr. Mao

This blog is meant to educate, but it should not be used as a substitute for personal medical advice. The reader should consult his or her physician or clinician for specific information concerning specific medical conditions. While all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that all information presented is accurate, as research and development in the medical field is ongoing, it is possible that new findings may supersede some data presented.

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