Diabetes is a frustrating and potentially life-threatening disease. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to glaucoma, gum disease, hearing loss, delayed wound recovery, kidney problems, hypertension, and complications of the eyes, heart, and skin. It is so crucial that those that are diabetic or pre-diabetic keep the condition under control as much as possible.
Herbs for Diabetes
Diet and exercise is a huge part of this, but there are many herbs and superfoods that can also help diabetics manage their condition and improve their health.
1. Bitter Melon
Bitter melon has long been used in traditional medicine to treat diabetes because it is great at lowering blood sugar. Momordica and charantin are two of the active ingredients in this herb that make it so potent in controlling diabetes.
2. Gymnema Sylvestre
The herb is also referred to as “sugar-killer” because of its ability to reduce your desire for sweets. Gymnema aids the pancreas in its production of insulin and may reduce the needs for artificial insulin support.
3. Ceylon Cinnamon
There is an active ingredient in cinnamon referred to as MHCP. This component helps increase cells’ sensitivity to insulin, which prevents an excess of insulin as well as increases the conversion of glucose to energy. Cinnamon is related to improved insulin efficiency, and some reports suggest that cinnamon can perhaps even triple insulin’s efficiency.
Not only can fenugreek help lower cholesterol in the blood, but it is also an effective natural treatment for diabetes. You can find fenugreek seed powder at a health food or supplement store, or fenugreek capsules are often available at your local grocery store. Defatted fenugreek powder has actually been shown to improve glucose tolerance in as little as one week.
Goldenseal also has strong hypoglycemic properties and improves the use of insulin in the body. This herb can increase your glucose tolerance, and therefore is especially a great supplement to take before meals and avoid the spikes in blood sugar that often follow a meal.
6. Panax Ginseng
This herb directly controls blood sugar and increases insulin secretion, making it a medicinal power-house for diabetics. Panax ginseng also increases the number of insulin receptors and provides a natural and healthy boost of energy.
7. Pterocarpus marsupium
While this herb sounds like it has the name of a prehistoric creature, it is nonetheless one of the most powerful medicinal herbs for diabetes. This herb is used regularly in Ayurvedic medicine and has been shown in studies to help balance the body’s blood sugar. Pterocarpus marsupium may even have the potential to reverse damage in the pancreas that results in decreased insulin production, the only herb that has been shown to do so.
Some additional medicinal herbs that are effective in addressing diabetes and its symptoms include:
- White Horehound
- Black Walnut
- Maritime Pine Bark
- Night Blooming Cereus
- Milk thistle
- American Ginseng
- Chinese Rhubarb
- Cat’s claw
Superfoods for Diabetes
Tomatoes contain high levels of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent cancer and heart disease, and beneficial for those suffering from diabetes. This superfoods is also high in vitamins and minerals that are essential for a diabetic’s health.
Kale is low in carbohydrates, provides a wide assortment of vitamins and minerals, and contains some amount of protein as well. Drinking green kale smoothies is a great way to supply the body with these essential vitamins and minerals.
Yes, an apple a day surely keeps the doctor away. Apples help reduce the symptoms of diabetes by keeping blood sugar levels under control. They provide the sweetness the body needs without causing complications, and fiber which helps with digestion.
Beans are a great way to fill the body (satisfy hunger cravings) without damaging the blood glucose levels. They are easy to digest and contains mineral and fibers that contribute to overall health. Fiber and magnesium help lower the symptoms of diabetes.
5. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is a good cooking option for anyone, especially diabetics. It contains healthy monounsaturated fat that stabilizes blood sugar levels and can help you lose weight. Researchers in Spain found out that olive oil can limit the complications of diabetes and help prevent it in the first place.
6. Green Tea
Green tea helps diabetics get the antioxidants needed to fight free radicals that can aggravate the complications associated with diabetes. Green tea also contains catechins that boost metabolism and help with weight loss.
Scientific research shows that Almonds help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, something diabetics are at a higher risk of developing.
8. Citrus Fruits
The Vitamin C in citrus fruits including oranges, lemon and grapefruit can help make up any shortages caused by diabetes. Other foods high in vitamin C (dandelions, leeks, squash, lime, mustard greens, okra, peppers, radish, etc.) are great too, but be sure that whatever food you choose is appropriate for a diabetic diet before using it.
Berries provide antioxidant support, vitamins, and fiber. Whether strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries (all ranking low on the Glycemic Index), they can help reduce the symptoms associated with diabetes.
Diabetes is a very scary disease and can have drastic impacts on your health and everyday life. It is important to take as much action as possible on your own to prevent the condition in the first place and lessen its effects if already diagnosed. This action includes eating a healthy diet (low in sugar, full of vegetables and lean protein) and exercising regularly.
If you want to take your prevention or treatment one step further, incorporate some of these medicinal herbs and superfoods into your diet and you will lessen the impact that diabetes has on your life.