Many of the diseases that we suffer from in today’s world are mainly lifestyle diseases. We, humans, have exploited our bodies so much by having excessive sugar, excessive salt, processed foods etc. that most of us now suffer from diabetes or other such lifestyle diseases. The problem is, now that the water has risen above dangerous levels, we are flailing our hands – nervous about what is in store.
Thankfully, natural remedies have always had our back and in the case of diabetes or pre-diabetes, we can rely on home remedies to cure the dreaded disease. This article will give you some excellent ideas on how to control your blood sugar levels with the help of natural ingredients. You do not need to resort to medicines, but you just need to scout your kitchen to find the best remedies. Nevertheless, before we start with the natural remedies, let us first understand what is pre-diabetes and diabetes and their symptoms are.
What is diabetes and pre-diabetes?
Diabetes, whose actual name is diabetes mellitus, is a group of metabolic diseases. When a person gets diabetes, his or her blood glucose (blood sugar) level us very high. This may be due to either insulin production being inadequate, or when the body’s cells do not respond to insulin, or it may be due to both the reasons. When a person gets diabetes and has high blood sugar he or she will typically experience polyuria (he will need to urinate frequently), they will also become very thirsty (polydipsia) and hungry (polyphagia).
Pre-diabetes, on the other hand, is when the blood glucose levels are high, but they are not as much elevated enough to be considered as diabetes. People who have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes are at a much higher risk of suffering from diabetes in the near future. Hence, they should take utmost care and resort to natural remedies to prevent diabetes.
One of the most common types of diabetes that people suffer from is Type 2. About 90% of the people who get diabetes have Type 2 and this is when your body does not produce enough insulin for proper function or when the cells in the body do not react to insulin. This is known as insulin resistance.
Let us begin with some natural remedies for people with pre-diabetes:
Get more sleep
This may seem like a remedy for almost any ailment, but it is actually true. For your blood sugar levels to remain normal, you need to have enough sleep as an adult. Studies have proved that people who get Inadequate or poor sleep have a body that is less effective at using the insulin. As an adult, you should be getting at least seven to nine hours per night. If you do not get a good night’s sleep, not only are your energy levels not in balance, but it can lead to a host of other problems including heart diseases and of course, diabetes.
Have Foods Rich in Chromium
Chromium-rich food is a great way to boost your insulin function. Having an optimum amount of chromium in your body can promote healthy glucose metabolism and prevent rapid weight gain. Include foods such as oats, broccoli, tomatoes, and barley as part of your diet.
Include High-Fiber foods for every meal:
Having high-fiber foods prevent your blood sugar levels from dipping and rising rapidly. It creates a balance in the system and reduces the body’s insulin resistance. 25-30 grams of fiber should be included in your diet, every day. Make sure you are getting these fibers from natural sources instead of synthetic ones.
Here were some natural remedies for those who have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes. For those of you who already have diabetes, here are some home remedies that should work.
Tulsi Leaves (Basil, as they are commonly known)
In any Indian Household, Tulsi plants are very revered and worshipped. Most homes will have a plant and it’s great if you have one too. The benefits of tulsi leaves are many and are full of antioxidants and essential oils. These produce elements called eugenol, methyl eugenol and caryophyllene. These three working together can help the pancreatic beta cells (which are the cells that store and release insulin) to work well and thus increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin.
How to have Tulsi: Every morning make it a point to have two to three tulsi leaves or if you don’t find the taste too appealing, you can juice one tablespoon of the leaves and have the juice on an empty stomach to effectively lower your blood sugar levels.
Cinnamon or Cinnamon Extract:
Cinnamon is also something that is mostly used in Indian kitchens and you will also be able to find it in extract or powder form in most grocery shops. Cinnamon is known to contain a bioactive compound that has been proven to fight and prevent both diabetes and pre-diabetes. Cinnamon stimulates the body’s insulin activity and in the process helps to control the blood sugar levels. However, you should be very careful with taking cinnamon because it is known to cause liver damage in case you have a lot of it. It contains a compound called Coumarin that can damage your liver.
How to have cinnamon: Grind cinnamon and mix it with warm water. Have this water every morning. You can also boil cinnamon and have this water on an empty stomach every morning.
Another big health fad, green tea is not just known for aiding weight loss, but recent studies have indicated that green tea is also good to control blood sugar levels when had without sugar and with natural sweeteners such as honey. Green tea contains a high level of polyphenol which is a very good antioxidant and hypo-glycemic compound. Hypo-glycemic compounds stabilize the blood sugar release in the body and can assist the body in utilizing insulin better.
How to have green tea: Substitute your regular cuppa milk tea with the different flavored green teas available in the market. Remember, green tea also contains a lot of caffeine so you should limit your number of cups to maximum three daily.
Jamun (Indian Blackberry):
Jamun as we commonly know, (also called the Indian Blackberry) is a bitter-sweet berry that has shown to stabilize the blood sugar levels in the human body. The berry can be had just like that or if you find it a little too different for your taste, you can have it as a sugarless juice.
How to have jamun: The key is to have it without adding sugar. It might not always be as sweet, but adding sugar can be counteractive. Have about 100gms of jamun every day to bring your blood sugar levels down.
Bittergourd or Karela
By now many of you might have scrunched up your nose by seeing bitter gourd. Trust us, most of the beneficial stuff never appeal to our taste buds. But this particular gourd has a world of advantages for anyone who suffers from diabetes. Bitter gourd contains plant insulin-polypeptide-P, This is a biochemical that can help mimic the production of insulin by our pancreas and in the process help to reduce the sugar levels in the body. It is also known to be highly advantageous for people who suffer from diabetes because it contains two very important elements called charatin and momordicin. These again play a crucial role in reducing a person’s blood sugar levels.
How to have karela: The best and most Indianised way to have Karela is to cook in a curry. The bitter taste is muted and you can enjoy a curry too. But for the most effective results, have some karela juice on an empty stomach for at least three days and check your blood sugar levels. In fact, you wouldn’t even have to go through the whole process of juicing an entire bitter gourd because Patanjali now sells bottled karela juice and many people swear by it.
One of the most bitter leaves you would ever taste and this might even put your bitter gourd to shame, but the benefits of neem leaves are unparalleled. Not just known for their medicinal properties, but also for reducing the blood sugar levels in someone with diabetes. Neem is known as a very strong insulin receptor sensitivity enhancer and it helps to improve the blood circulation by dilating the blood vessels and as we mentioned before, it also lowers the blood glucose levels and helps you get rid of your dependency on hypoglycemic drugs.
How to have neem: Early morning on an empty stomach, drink the juice of the tender shoot of neem. You can also get powders of neem and this could be mixed with water and you can drink it. However, having the natural product is much safer. If you don’t have it, make sure you buy neem powders from trusted sources. Adulterated neem powder may end up troubling you even more.
Flaxseeds are a great way to lose weight and have been deemed as superfoods too. Flaxseeds are very rich in fiber and hence aid in digestion and make it easier for your body to digest food and sugars. As a result, you have a stable blood sugar level. Research has indicated that making flax seeds a part of your daily diet, diabetic people can reduce their postprandial blood sugar level to almost 28 percent.
How to have flaxseeds: You can roast and grind the flaxseeds and add them to your dough when you make rotis. You can also add roasted flax seeds on top of your cereals or oats for best results. Flaxseeds can sometimes make your food a little slimy, so you will need some time to get used to it.
Preliminary research has shown that Aloe Vera can be quite effective to reduce the blood sugar levels. It is basically the juice of the succulent plant that has been known to change the levels of blood sugar and stabilize it to a large extent. Aloe vera has also been known to decrease the blood lipids or fats in people who are suffering from Type 2 Diabetes and help them live a much normal life. Apart from that, people who suffer from diabetes are also prone to wounds and injuries that refuse to heal. Aloe vera can help heal these wounds faster. The gel of the plant is directly used on the wound or injury for quick healing.
How to take aloe vera: If you have the plant handy, or you grow it at home, it is very easy to simply extract the juice or the gel from the plant. However, if you don’t have the plant, you can easily buy the gel or the juice from any store. A lot of companies today manufacture these but do ensure that you are getting it from better-known companies.
So these were some of the natural remedies that will help you stabilize your blood sugar levels and hence control your diabetes. It is important to understand that diabetes is a lifestyle disease and keeping an eye out for the food you eat or how much exercise you get can also affect the status.
Practice Portion Control
When you are suffering from diabetes, portion control is crucial not just to control your blood sugar levels, but also to provide you an opportunity to lose weight. Portion control can help you keep a stock of your calorie intake and your carb intake. Remember, both these can determine the amount of insulin that needs to be taken to keep your blood sugar levels in balance. Follow the plate method of portion control where your plate is divided into several parts to plan out what you are eating. Suppose you have a 12-inch plate – which is the most common size. The first thing to do about this is to reduce the size of the plant to a 10-inch one. Now divide the plate into four parts – two quarters should have non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, mushrooms, salad veggies), one quarter could have starchy items (rice, whole grain, potatoes, beetroots etc.) and the last quarter should have proteins (Lean meat, fish, turkey, eggs etc.). Portion control is a great way to understand what’s your intake and whether you should take measures to control this or not.
People who suffer from diabetes should maintain extreme caution when drinking alcohol. They, in fact, cannot drink normally because alcohol can negatively affect their blood sugar levels. If your blood sugar levels are in control, you can enjoy a drink or two, but this should always be in control. The reason why alcohol should be prevented is that it can significantly increase the risk of hypoglycemia (or low blood sugar levels). There are some precautions that you should always keep in mind when drinking – the first is to avoid drinking on an empty stomach as this can spike up your blood sugar levels instantly. The second is to avoid substituting alcohol for food. Enjoy a glass or two, but always be extra careful with alcohol.
Exercise is a very vital part of diabetes management and can help you control it to a large extent. But how does exercise help? Exercise, especially the ones that involve aerobic exercises help to increase your heartbeats, raise breathing rates and work your muscles out. For anyone who is trying to lose weight, doing about 30 minutes of exercise every day and repeating this for around five days a week will show good results. However, if you are just starting with exercise, doing even less than 30 minutes can help you lose weight. When we say aerobic exercises for diabetics, these could include activities such as walking, dancing, swimming, going to the gym, ice-skating etc.
Diabetes requires life-long medication but with the management of food, exercise, and natural home remedies, people who are suffering from diabetes too can lead an almost normal life. It is not something that would cripple you or prevent you from enjoying life, but you will have to be a little cautious when it comes to having too much food, or too much alcohol. Anyway, like they say, an excess of anything is bad!