Diabetes affects more than 30 million people in the United States alone. That’s about 10% of the population. Experts say there are 7.2 million people who have diabetes, but don’t know it yet.
In 2015, about 34 million adults in the U.S. were diabetic.
Diet and lifestyle choices have a direct effect on the development of this disease, and they can also have a direct effect on treating it.
Natural, or alternative, treatments can help supplement conventional treatments to better manage the condition or eventually, overcome it.
1. Diet and Exercise Changes
The most effective natural diabetes treatment is to make diet and exercise changes.
Type 2 diabetes is caused by insulin resistance. While there are a number of factors that can lead to insulin resistance, diet and exercise are the primary catalysts.
Refined sugars and excessive carbohydrate intake (which is converted into sugar by the body) contributes to the development of insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes.
Along with refined sugar, consider eliminating or limiting:
- Grains, which are high in carbohydrates and contribute to fat gain.
- Hydrogenated oils, which are highly processed, treated at high temperatures and often combined with artificial dyes.
- Alcohol, which can increase blood sugar to dangerous levels and lead to liver toxicity.
- Processed foods, which are high in calories, contain artificial ingredients and are loaded with preservatives.
Replace these bad foods with:
- Healthy fats, like ghee, coconut milk, olive oil, and grass-fed butter.
- Fiber-rich foods, like avocadoes, berries, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
- Protein, like chicken, grass-fed beef, eggs and lentils.
- Magnesium-rich foods, like almonds, yogurt, black beads, chard, spinach and pumpkin seeds. Magnesium helps regulate blood sugar levels.
- Low GI foods, like eggs, nuts, berries, fruits, seeds, wild-caught fish, and raw pastured dairy.
Diet changes alone can go a long way in helping manage diabetes. But exercise will help you lose weight and keep your body in shape. Weight loss will also help with insulin resistance, which will ultimately help in treating diabetes.
2. Fish Oil
Fish oil is a natural anti-inflammatory and can also help improve the markers of diabetes. It works by raising HDL cholesterol levels and reducing triglyceride levels.
Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil help prevent insulin intolerance and reduce inflammation. It is also necessary for proper insulin function.
3. Alpha Lipoic Acid
ALA (alpha lipoic acid) is a potent antioxidant that turns glucose into fuel. Not only does it help improve insulin sensitivity, but it also helps reduce the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.
ALA supplements can help, but you can also get this antioxidant from spinach, broccoli and tomatoes.
4. Chromium Picolinate
A review was published in Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics that fund chromium picolinate improves glycemic control while reducing hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia.
This supplement has also been shown to reduce triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
Studies have shown that cinnamon reduces blood sugar levels and improves insulin sensitivity. One study found that this popular spice is associated with a decrease in plasma glucose levels, triglyceride levels and LDL cholesterol. Cinnamon can also help boost HDL cholesterol.