The Diabetes Epidemic
Diabetes is now reaching epidemic proportions. 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes, and 1 in 3 Americans are pre-diabetic.
Saudi Arabia is among the top 10 countries of the world with the highest prevalence of diabetes, affecting nearly 24% of the population.
This deadly problem is even beginning to affect our children. It’s estimated that 1/3 of all boys and 2/5 of all girls will develop diabetes in their lifetime. Take a look at these shocking statistics…
- In 1985, about 30 million people suffered from diabetes worldwide.
- In 2011, that number skyrocketed to 366 million people.
- And it’s projected that in the year 2030, diabetes will affect a staggering 552 million people! (source)
What is Type 2 Diabetes?
To put it simply, type 2 diabetes means there’s too much sugar floating around in your bloodstream, and your body’s means for removing it is broken.
Normally, the food you eat is broken down into sugar molecules that enter your bloodstream. Your body releases the hormone insulin to bring the sugar molecules from your blood into your cells to be used or stored as energy.
When you eat a poor diet which is high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, your body starts to develop a condition called insulin resistance. Your cells become resistant to the insulin and are unable to use it as effectively, leading to chronically high blood sugar.
These chronically high levels of sugar in your blood can cause damage to almost every part of your body. It can cause heart disease, nerve damage, kidney damage, eye damage, foot damage, skin problems, hearing loss, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
- Increased thirst and frequent urination. Excess sugar building up in your blood causes fluid to be pulled from the tissues, making you thirsty.
- Increased hunger. Without enough insulin to move sugar into your cells, your muscles and organs become depleted of energy. This triggers intense hunger.
- Blurred vision
- Slow-healing sores or frequent infections (including yeast infections). Type 2 diabetes affects your ability to heal and resist infections.
- Areas of darkened skin. Patches of dark, velvety skin can develop in the folds and creases of the body (usually in the armpits and neck).
10 Steps for Preventing and Reversing Type 2 Diabetes
1) Cut out refined sugar
Instead, to satisfy that sweet tooth eat fruit, dates, and (occasionally) honey or pure maple syrup. Read more here about the dangers of eating too much sugar.
2) Avoid refined grains
Avoid white pasta, rice, and bread. These spike your blood sugar quickly and are very low in nutrients.
Great sources of healthy fats include nuts, seeds, olives, olive oil, avocado, and coconut oil. Read more here about the importance of healthy fats.
4) Try to eat at least 5 servings of different coloured vegetables every day.
5) Increase omega-3 fats and reduce omega 6 fats.
Eat good amounts of fatty fish, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, and egg yolks. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are necessary for proper insulin function.
Fats to avoid include canola, corn, peanut, sunflower and safflower oils.
6) Avoid sweet drinks
Drinks such as soda and fruit juices spike your blood sugar and provide little (if any) benefits to your health. Instead chose water or tea.
7) Eat fermented foods to improve the health of your gut.
8) To help stabilize your blood sugar, Include high quality protein and fat with EVERY meal.
9) Try fasting twice a week.
Studies show that fasting decreases the level of insulin in the blood, while also increasing glucose uptake into cells.
10) Get active!
Studies show that exercise improves blood glucose control and can delay or prevent Type 2 Diabetes. It also helps reduce stress and allows you to sleep better. Try to incorporate more physically activity into your daily lifestyle, so it becomes a habit.
For example, enjoying a brisk walk every day or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Be creative! I find that trying to keep up with my 5 year old for just an hour a day is enough to wear out even a marathon runner! I’ve also found that making up a short, 3-5 minute exercise routine and doing it after each prayer (5 times a day) is a great way to stay consistent.
It’s important to remember that you can’t reverse the effects of a bad diet with supplements. First and foremost, focus on eating a healthy, nourishing diet, low in refined carbs and high in healthy proteins and fat. Then, use these supplements to help you regain your health even faster inshAllah!
Cinnamon (where to buy)
This meta analysis showed that cinnamon causes a significant decrease in fasting blood glucose and HgA1c levels. It can even help lower cholesterol levels!
I love adding cinnamon to my tea, morning oatmeal, or to this delicious Golden Milk, which also contains…
Curcumin (the main active component in turmeric) has been found to be 400 times more potent than Metformin (a common diabetes drug) in improving insulin sensitivity, which can also help reverse Type 2 Diabetes.
Chromium (where to buy)
This study showed that chromium picolinate supplementation had a beneficial effect on glycemic control in patients with poorly controlled Type 2 Diabetes. And this review of clinical studies showed that “the pooled data from studies using chromium picolinate supplementation for type 2 diabetes mellitus subjects show substantial reductions in hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia, which equate to a reduced risk for disease complications.”
Food sources of chromium include broccoli, mushrooms, raw cheese, green beans, and grass-fed beef.
The University of Maryland Medical Center reported that, “Several human studies show that American ginseng lowered blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes…One study found that people with type 2 diabetes who took American ginseng before or together with a high sugar drink experienced less of an increase in blood glucose levels. Other studies suggest that North American ginseng prevents diabetes-related complications including retinal and cardiac functional changes by reducing stress.”
Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA)
ALA is an antioxidant which, studies have suggested, may lower fasting blood sugar levels and decrease insulin resistance. It can be found in broccoli, spinach and tomatoes.
Eating bitter melon also helps lower blood glucose levels and regulates the body’s use of insulin. The extract of bitter melon is used to treat diabetes-related complications (heart, kidney, eye, and blood vessel damage).
Low magnesium may worsen blood sugar control by building insulin resistance. And studies show that a magnesium deficiency may contribute to some diabetes complications. People who get more magnesium in their diet have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Magnesium rich foods include spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds, cashew, almonds, yogurt, quinoa and black beans.
In addition, fenugreek may help reduce blood sugar in people with diabetes, according to several small studies.
Berberine (where to buy)
Berberine is a natural plant alkaloid from China and India. Studies have shown that it is able to control blood sugar and lipid metabolism as effectively as metformin. Other studies have shown that berberine improves glucose and lipid metabolism disorders.