It’s more important now than ever to learn how to stop diabetes in its tracks. Type 2 diabetes is a big deal in America, with almost 10% of the population struggling with it. That’s over 30 million people, and the CDC says that another 84 million have prediabetes. (1)
While type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks cells in the pancreas, making it difficult to produce insulin, type 2 is a metabolic disorder caused by high blood sugar.
Regardless of which one you’ve got, they both cause major health issues that can lead to more serious ones, like vision loss, heart disease, stroke, loss of body parts likes toes, fingers, and feet, and even death.
What Causes Type 2 Diabetes?
Your pancreas creates a hormone called insulin that allows your cells to use blood sugar for energy. When you become prediabetic, your cells don’t respond normally to insulin, and your body starts making more to get the cells to respond.
Your pancreas finally decides to give up on producing insulin because it gets totally overwhelmed, so your blood sugar starts rising.
You become diabetic when your pancreas takes a nap on the job and there is too much sugar in your bloodstream.
Here are some things that put you at risk:
- Being overweight
- Not getting enough exercise
- Being over 45 years old
- Other people having it in your family
- Poor diet
- Having polycystic ovary syndrome
- Environmental toxins
The good news is that type 2 diabetes can be completely healed with some simple lifestyle choices.
Here are some things you can do that will stop diabetes in its tracks for good!
Exercise Every Day to Control Blood Sugar
Many researchers believe the sedentary lifestyles that many Americans have is responsible for the diabetes epidemic. Multiple studies show that regular exercise improves glucose control and balances sugar metabolism. (2)
Exercise burns fat and builds muscle, which is great for your metabolism.
We’re not saying you need to run four miles a day or become a workout machine, but getting moving makes a big difference in the fight against diabetes.
Going for a 20-minute walk every day or doing yoga in a studio or at home are two great ways to keep your blood sugar under control, along with light weight training.
These activities will combat the extra weight that most people with diabetes and prediabetes have, and they’re gentle exercises that won’t mess up your joints.
It’s well documented that people who carry excess weight from overeating and lack of exercise are at a greater risk of getting type 2 diabetes, so exercise will help decrease that risk.
Even if you don’t have time for a full workout, you can change a sedentary lifestyle in a few simple ways.
Take a walk after dinner with the family instead of hanging out in front of the television or get up from the computer at work once an hour and hike up and down the stairs.
Remove These Foods from Your Diet Forever
What you put into your body has a huge impact on your blood sugar levels. If you want to heal diabetes, the first thing you should do is break up with the following food items:
- Refined sugar: If food or drink comes in a package, it probably has refined sugar in it. Refined sugar from sodas, sweets, and even bread will make your sugar spike faster than you can say, “sugar crash.”
It enters the bloodstream quickly, which causes blood glucose levels to elevate too fast for the body to keep up with processing it. (3) If you’re at risk or already have type 2 diabetes, avoid it like the plague.
Most sugar substitutes, even the natural ones like honey and maple syrup, aren’t recommended for people with diabetes. So, what’s an at-risk person with a sweet tooth to do?
Try liquid stevia or agave syrup, which are both plant-based sweeteners, and by all means, don’t use artificial sweetener! They’re full of chemicals that cause weight gain and make your sugar cravings even worse. (4)
- Grains that contain gluten: Gluten is a protein that’s naturally found in some grains like wheat, barley, and rye.
There has been a lot of hoopla around a recent study at Harvard that people who go on gluten-free diets are at a greater risk of getting type 2 diabetes, so why stay away from it? (5)
Other researchers feel that the reason the people in the study had a higher risk is that they cut out grains altogether. (6)
You need fiber in your diet, and most people get it from whole grains instead of high-fiber vegetables.
Gluten causes intestinal inflammation, which can result in spikes to blood pressure. Many nutritionists recommend cutting all grains out of the diet while increasing your intake of high fiber veggies and fruits.
- Cow milk and cheese: Milk and cheese are thought to be great foods to balance blood sugar, but the problem is that dairy from conventional cows has a form of beta-casein in it that causes inflammation.
It also has lactose, which is a natural sugar carbohydrate, so it’s not great for people with diabetes.
Goat’s milk is easier to digest because it has a softer form of casein, and it has less fat, which means les lactose. Be a little adventurous and try goat, buffalo, or sheep cheese if you really need dairy.
- Hydrogenated oils: Hydrogenated oils that are processed at high temperatures and combined with artificial ingredients have been shown to have a direct link to health issues like diabetes. (7)
The problem is that it seems like they are in practically everything snack-able.
If you check out the package label and see “saturated fat” listed under the nutrition label, chances are you’ve got canola, vegetable, cottonseed, or soybean oil that’s hydrogenated. You can find them in coffee creamer, fried foods like potato chips, and margarine.
A Low-Carb Diet Can Help Heal Diabetes
Studies show time and time again that low-carb diets decrease blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity. In one 12-week study, pre-diabetic participants who ate a low-carb diet decreased their blood sugar by 12%, and insulin levels dropped by 50%! (8)
When you chill out on carbs from things like white flour and added sugar, your blood sugar won’t rise very much after you eat, so your body doesn’t need to make as much insulin.
So, what should you eat?
Stick to lean proteins, fresh vegetables with high fiber like broccoli, berries, nuts, seeds, and brussels sprouts, healthy fats like coconut oil, and non-starchy veggies.
Add bone broth to your diet because it’s great for reducing inflammation and has tons of nutrients.
Magnesium-rich foods are also a must because many people with diabetes and pre-diabetes seem to be deficient. (9)
Spinach, chards, and pumpkin seeds are all good sources. One yummy salad with these ingredients is all you need to get your daily intake.
Make Sure You’re Managing Your Stress
A metadata analysis of multiple studies about diabetes found that the more sleep a person gets, the less risk of type 2 diabetes. (10) Researchers think that this is because the more tired or stressed a person is, they more they load up on carbs.
They’re also more likely to snack or buy pre-packaged food or take-out. You know it’s true.
More stress means less sleep, which means your body also doesn’t have enough shut-down time to take care of business. Managing your stress with yoga, stretching, meditation, or deep breathing exercises can really help.
Incorporate Diabetes-Busting Supplements into Your Diet
People with diabetes are notorious for not getting enough nutrients. Sometimes a health issue can cause this, but more poor food choices and a sedentary lifestyle are the culprits.
There’s a direct link to diabetes and vitamin D deficiency, probably because so many of us are chained to the computer and rarely see the sun, which is our biggest source for it.
Even if you do worship the sun and partake of it regularly, you might live in a winter climate and not get enough of it during certain times of the year.
You can get it from foods like egg whites, fortified dairy, and salmon, but if you don’t eat these things daily, supplements help.
Omega 3 fish oil is known to raise good cholesterol levels and its fatty acids reduce inflammation and insulin intolerance. (11) Researchers suggest taking 1000 milligrams a day to help combat diabetes.
Another great supplement to add is chromium picolinate. Multiple studies show that it reduces cholesterol and improves glycemic control. It’s really important for maintaining a normal metabolism.
Make Water Your Primary Beverage of Choice
We know. Water is boring, but guess what?
Sugary sodas, store-bought iced-teas, energy drinks, and lattes are linked to type 2 diabetes in a big way. They’re even linked to a form of type 1 diabetes called Latent Autoimmune Diabetes of Adults.
When people are trying to lose weight, they’ll often switch to diet drinks, but they are just as bad as drinks with regular sugar.
The body reacts the same when it comes to insulin sensitivity and glucose levels. (12)
Water flushes out toxins, helps digestion, and leads to better blood sugar control and insulin response. If you really don’t enjoy drinking it, try homemade fruit or veggie infused water.