16 Best Natural Ways to Help Manage or Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Whether youíre trying to prevent or treat diabetes, the world of natural medicine has many proven remedies to help. Of course, you also need to eat a low sugar diet, but in addition, here are some of my top natural approaches to diabetes:

Avoid Antibiotics

Antibiotic use has been linked to type 2 diabetes. According to a study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, the more antibiotics you take the greater the disease risk. So, skip the antibiotics if you have a cold or flu (theyíre viral and antibiotics wonít do anything for viruses). Of course, if your doctor suspects a bacterial infection, you should always follow his or her instructions, particularly if you already suffer with diabetes since bacterial infections can have life-threatening ramification for diabetics.

Related: Surprisingly Effective Natural Antibiotics

Vitamin A Deficiency

While there are multiple possible nutrient deficiencies linked to diabetes (Iíll get to those in a minute), a vitamin A deficiency is particularly important to address. Thatís because research, published in Endocrine Journal, found that the nutrient is required for healthy beta cells in the pancreas. These are the cells that produce insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. While vitamin A is found in fish and its precursor beta carotene is found in many orange-colored vegetables like squash, carrots, pumpkin and sweet potatoes, you may need to supplement with this nutrient as many diabetics lack the ability to convert beta carotene into vitamin A.

Related: 10 Natural Ways to Regulate Your Blood Sugar†Levels

Cinnamon

Now there is more reason than ever to enjoy a sprinkling of cinnamon on your beverage or food. Research published in the Annals of Family Medicine found that even a daily sprinkling of this delicious spice can help regulate blood sugar levels. Sprinkle cinnamon on your unsweetened lattes, breakfast cereal or add to your favorite curries for a Moroccan-inspired flair.

CoQ10 Lozenge

While our body makes this essential nutrient, it often decreases with age. Fortunately it is readily available in unsweetened or low-sugar lozenge form to help you benefit from the nutrientís ability to protect and treat pre-diabetes or diabetes. It works by boosting energy in the cells and has been found to help balance glucose levels in the body.

Vitamin D

A vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. While moderate sunlight exposure is helpful, the reality is that most people simply do not get sufficient vitamin D in northern climates this time of year. Supplement with a drop or two (about 1000 to 2000 IU daily) of vitamin D3 to help address a possible vitamin D deficiency. If youíre vegan be sure to choose a vegan source.

Ginger

Adding more ginger to your daily diet could help to ward off insulin resistance (a precursor to diabetes in which the body stops responding properly to insulin or makes insufficient insulin) or diabetes. A study published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine, demonstrated the effectiveness of ginger supplementation on diabetes and insulin resistance.† You can add fresh ginger to soups, curries or make a batch of tea with it; however you may need to supplement with it too to obtain the study results, which were obtained with supplementation of one gram capsules three times daily. Take with food.

Related: 7 Health Benefits of Ginger

Probiotics

While antibiotics may be a causal factors for diabetes, probiotics may help improve blood markers linked to diabetes according to research in the Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism. Choose a probiotic supplement that contains Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. casei, L. rhamnosus, L. bulgaricus, Bifidobacterium breve, B. longum and Streptococcus thermophilus for best results.

Skip Commercial Mouthwashes

How can mouthwash be linked to diabetes, you may be wondering? According to a study published in Nitric Oxide, regular mouthwash use destroys beneficial bacteria in the mouth that are needed for our health, which may increase our diabetes risk. The researchers found that using over-the-counter mouthwash two or more times daily increased the risk of pre-diabetes and diabetes. Gargle with cooled peppermint or chamomile tea instead.

Plant-Based Diet

We all know we should eat more fruits and vegetables but research published in PLOS Medicine found that a healthy vegetarian diet substantially reduced diabetes risk. Fortunately, itís easy to add a large daily salad, enjoy vegetable-based soups, or make the focal point of your meals fruits and vegetables. Avoid high sugar fruit like pineapples and bananas if you are diabetic.

Eat Less Meat

Eating less meat has been linked to a reduced risk of diabetes. By ramping up your fruit and vegetable intake you may find that youíre already eating less meat. If not, make vegetarian days a regular occurrence in your home.

Skip the Soda

Drinking even one can of soda daily has been linked to a 22 percent increased risk of diabetes, according to research. Opt for water or if you must have something fizzy, choose carbonated water with a splash of fruit juice or a squeeze of lime juice and a touch of the natural herbal sweetener stevia.

Donít Turn to Diet Soda

Just because youíve quit sugary sodas doesnít mean you should switch to aspartame-sweetened diet beverages either. Diet soda has been linked to impaired blood sugar in research published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.

Milk Thistle

Research in the journal Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, and Obesity found that taking an extract of milk thistle on a daily basis improved blood sugar levels, as well as other markers for diabetes. The medicinal properties are best extracted in alcohol extracts so be sure to consult your physician prior to taking this natural remedy. Follow package directions. If you are diabetic, choose capsules or glycerin-extracts instead.

Nettles

Spring is almost here and with it come nettles in our lawns and gardens. While the herb is known for its stinging properties, research in the journal Neuroscience Letters also found that the plant can assist with regulating blood sugar and improving many symptoms linked to diabetes. You can buy fresh nettles at many farmerís markets. If you pick them yourself be sure you work with a qualified herbal guide. You can also buy dried nettles at your local health food store and add to soups or stews. You can also make a tea of one teaspoon of dried herb per cup of boiled water and allow to steep for at least 10 minutes.

Broccoli Sprouts

Broccoli sprouts, like broccoli, contains the potent nutrient known as sulforaphane, although it is found in higher levels in the sprouts. Sulforaphane can improve blood sugar levels and itís an easy addition to salads, sandwiches and wraps.

Fermented Foods

A growing body of research shows that fermented foods and the probiotics they contain can prevent unhealthy spikes in blood sugar. You can enjoy sauerkraut (like broccoli and broccoli sprouts, cabbage also contains sulforaphane), kimchi, plant-based yogurt and other delicious fermented foods. Just be sure you choose ones with ďlive culturesĒ from the refrigerator section of your grocery or health food store.

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Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-news Worldís Healthiest News, the Cultured Cook, president of ScentsationalWellness, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: The Life Force Diet: 3 Weeks to Supercharge Your Health and Get Slim with Enzyme-Rich Foods.

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