When we eat, our bodies break down the proteins, carbohydrates and fats we have to be utilised as the building blocks of our bodies. Carbohydrates, like those found in bread, rice, pasta, cereals and potatoes are digested and converted to simple sugars in the intestines and then proceed from the intestines to the bloodstream. These simple sugars are our body’s first selection for energy production.
It is a type of sugar is the basic fuel that the body uses for energy. For our bodies to use this sugar however, it has to be transported across the cell membrane where it can be used to fuel and feed our cells. Insulin, a hormone secreted from the pancreas, and more especially by the islets of Langerhans, which are dispersed throughout the pancreas, stimulates our body’s cells to absorb glucose, thus removing it from the blood stream.
When our bodies can’t properly utilize sugar, thus causing it to remain in the blood, we’re diagnosed with diabetes. Diabetes is a disease which disrupts the mechanism by which the body controls blood sugar. The build-up of glucose in the blood, characterized by diabetes, can cause the tissues of our own bodies to be starved for glucose and may, if left unchecked, lead to damage of the eyes, kidneys, nerves and heart.
Two forms of diabetes
Insulin dependent or Type 1 diabetes and non-insulin dependent or Type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes, is often known as juvenile or childhood-onset diabetes. Here, the pancreas can’t make the insulin needed by the body to process sugar. For people with Type 1 diabetes, while natural remedies may help the body be more receptive to insulin, they need regular injections of insulin to keep health.
On the other hand, individuals with Type 2 or Adult-onset diabetes, their bodies produce varying levels of insulin, but more often then not, the capability of their body’s cells to absorb sugar is diminished. While there are “classic” warning signals that often accompany diabetes, i.e., excessive thirst, excessive hunger, excessive urination, excessive fatigue, and unexplained weight loss, many people with type 2 diabetes don’t have these symptoms. Individuals that are at a higher risk include individuals who are: over age 40, are obese, have a family history of diabetes, have had diabetes when pregnant, have high blood pressure or high blood fats, have the stress of an illness or injury, are a member of a high-risk cultural group such as African-American, Hispanic, American Indian and Asian. For these individuals, natural remedies tend to work well.
Recommendations For Wellness
- Reduce your intake of starchy foods which are high in carbohydrates like bread, potatoes, processed cereal, rice or which have a high glycemic index rating. The Glycemic Index is a system that ranks foods based on how they affect your levels of blood glucose.
- Consume a high fiber, whole foods diet and work to get rid of preprocessed junk foods out of your eating regimen.
- Start an exercise program! Typically, weight reduction can help people who have type 2 diabetes. Along with decreasing body fat, regular exercise has been demonstrated to increase insulin sensitivity.
- Dietary fiber, such as psyllium has been demonstrated to improve glucose tolerance in some studies.
- Incorporate brewer’s yeast or a vitamin supplement in your health program. Chromium helps enhance glucose tolerance by increasing our body’s sensitivity to insulin.
- Supplement with vitamins and minerals like vitamin B, Vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium and zinc. Individuals with diabetes often have low levels of the vital nutrients in their blood. Additionally, these supplements have been proven to help to decrease damage to the eyes, kidneys and nerves – health conditions that are often experienced by people with complex or long term diabetes.
Evidence indicates that supplementation with vitamin D may increase insulin levels in some people.
The herb Opuntia can help strengthen the liver and the pancreas thereby enhancing our body’s ability to use insulin.
Some sources advise that you avoid the amino acid cysteine that has been reported to break down insulin and interfere with sugar absorption.
Stevia, a naturally sweet plant makes an exceptional sugar substitute without the downsides of sugar. Stevia can be used in cooking also.