While vegetables make up for essential eating, some foods come packed with a rich array of phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and other nutrients that can help you in your battle to regulate your blood sugar. They're called superfoods because they contain rich levels of certain nutrients. Among them are:
Fish and Flax Oil: Fish is one food that should be on everyone's plate at least once a week. It's rich in protein, B-6, B-12 and trace minerals and especially in omega-3 fatty acids, severely lacking in the American diet. In one particular study those who consumed less than 1 ounce of fish daily had a significant reduction of glucose intolerance. Cold water fish such as salmon, halibut, sole, cod, tuna,
trout and sardines can protect against the complications diabetes presents. Because they consist of protein, eating fish helps you feel full longer and fights the urge to snack. If you can't take fish every week, take a good fish oil supplement. Fish oil protects delicate cell membranes which can better take in insulin and allow glucose into the cells.
Cold water fish has more omega 3 fatty acids. It was a staple in the diet of our ancestors. Our ancestors relied on a diet of a ratio of 1 to 1 in omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. Today, our ratio is unbalanced at 1 to 30 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty oils with extremely high levels of trans (hydrogenated) and saturated fats. With the saturated fats from margarine and beef, cell membranes
become more rigid and can't recognize insulin and open up to receive the excess glucose in the blood.
Unsaturated fats from fish and flax oil make those cell membranes more flexible. Flax oil contains alpha linolenic acid which is converted into fish oil in the body. Both flax seed and flax oil containgood amounts of omega-3. You can bake with flax seed or sprinkle the seed into your morning cereal, or add it to ground beef for a leaner burger.
Garlic: Garlic, called the stinking rose is one of the miracles of nature. It has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties and healthful benefits. It belongs to the same family as leeks, onions, chives, scallions and shallots. Allicin is what gives garlic its distinctive odor. The oils enter the bloodstream and remain for several hours. Unfortunately, garlic breath is a nasty side effect, but chewing a sprig of parsley, or a coffee bean helps eliminate the odor after eating. The source of the
smell remains deep in the bloodstream where the garlic is producing its therapeutic effect and cannot be so easily be eliminated by using breath mints, toothpaste or mouthwash. Despite its odor, garlic should be on the plate of anyone who wants to stay healthy. It was eaten by the Israelite slaves who built the pyramids and garlic has been found in the tombs of Egyptian Pharaohs.
It's only in the past few decades that its healing qualities have been discovered. Whether aged, fresh, cooked or as a supplement it helps against liver damage, it modifies the extremes in blood sugar after a meal. You can buy odorless garlic supplements at your health food store. Odorless garlic products contain alliin and other sulfur compounds and provide all of the benefits of fresh garlic if they are manufactured properly. When looking for a supplement, look for an enteric-coated product as it does not break down as it passes through the stomach until it reaches the intestines. Stomach acids tend to destroy the alliin in garlic. Recommended brands of garlic are: Garlicin (Nature's Way) and Garlic
Factors (Natural Factors). Garlic has been shown to be an effective germ killer. It helps to preserve meat, keeping it fresh 2 to 4 times longer than meat that is not treated with garlic.
While it was used to keep away vampires, garlic has been shown to kill parasites in the body.
With so many uses, it should be on the menu of every household. Here's a quick list of its benefits:
● It acts as an antiseptic
● Fights infection
● Contains chemicals that prevent cancer
● Thins the blood and reduces the chance of clotting in high-risk heart patients. This is especially
important for diabetics.
● Lowers blood pressure
● Reduces LDL, the bad cholesterol
● Controls triglycerides
● Stimulates the immune system
● Acts as a decongestant
Tuberculosis is one of the diseases that is mounting a comeback and garlic is particularly effective in preventing it It is effective against botulism, diarrhea, dysentery, pneumonia, staph and typhoid and is more effective germ killer than penicillin or tetracycline.
Vinegar: Real vinegar is raw and unpasteurized. It's rich in organic acids, friendly bacteria, pectin and acetic acid which helps to slow down the emptying of the stomach. This translates to less of a rise in glucose levels. It is rich in 22 of the essential minerals for human health and apple cider vinegar contains 19 of these minerals in the right amounts. Potassium is one of those essential minerals. Just 2
tablespoons of vinegar can slow the emptying rate of the stomach as much as 30% and drop the sugar spikes that occur after eating by about 30%. For good health, take 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar twice daily before a meal, every morning on wakening, or before going to bed. Mix vinegar in a glass of warm water and stir in some raw honey and a drop of lemon juice to make it more palatable. It has been shown that those who took vinegar before a meal had a 25% reduction in blood sugar levels than those who took no vinegar before a meal. Those who took vinegar also experienced weight loss after just 4 weeks. On average they lost 2 pounds while a non-vinegar group lost nothing.
The store bought vinegar is often more acidic and you'll discover that the raw, unpasteurized version is more palatable.
Onions: Closely related to garlic, onions, cooked or raw it helps to lower blood sugar through an active substance called allyl propyl disulfide which is also found in garlic. This substance helps to prevent the liver from deactivating insulin so it stays longer in the bloodstream where it can lower blood glucose.
The higher the dose, whether taken in a raw onion or powder form produces the greatest effect in blood sugar. Onions are effective both raw and boiled. Like garlic it helps to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. Diabetics should take liberal amounts of both onion and garlic.
Colorful Vegetables: As we age free radicals (pro-oxidants) increase in the body stealing electrons from the tissues of your heart, blood vessels, brain, cell membranes and your DNA. This process is particularly pronounced in diabetics and leads to premature aging. You can slow down the process by consuming more foods high in antioxidants. Most antioxidants are found in colored vegetables and fruits. The deeper the greens and reds, the better the anti-oxidant value. Plants have to stay in the sun all day and need some protection against free radical damage. Their protection lies in the form of their
color. Bioflavonoids and carotenoids protect plants from free radical damage. There are over 20,000 bioflavonoids and over 800 different carotenoids. Deep green vegetables like spinach and collards provide more protection than does iceberg lettuce which is light in color. Berries, such as raspberries,
red grapes, boysenberries, red peppers, carrots all contain a great deal of antioxidant value that can help you in your fight against free radical damage. The darker red the tomato is, the better it is for you.
Brewer's Yeast: Both glucose tolerance facto and insulin are required to move excess glucose into the cells. GTF is often lacking in diabetics. Niacin and chromium are two important elements to help sensitize the cells, but both are missing in the diabetic diet. The richest source of GTF is found in brewer's yeast, the same stuff used to make beer. The taste is bitter and not very appealing, but it can be
mixed with a blended shake of orange juice, powdered protein, flax oil and lecithin or sprinkled on breakfast cereal.
Cinnamon: Cinnamon, cloves, turmeric and bay leaves have a measurable impact on making insulin more effective. Cinnamon is clearly the best and also contains no calories. While the cinnamon in your spice cabinet helps a little, its effect quickly becomes inactive by the saliva in your mouth. The best
way is to take the liquid form of cinnamon as you find in your local health food store. Or buy cinnamon sticks and boil one in the water you use to make your tea or coffee. ½ a teaspoon of cinnamon a day can make cells more sensitive to insulin. Research has shown that after 40 days of taking various amounts of cinnamon extract, diabetics experienced lower blood sugar spikes after eating and major improvements in heart health. Glucose, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels all decreased.
Grapefruit: While grapefruit interacts with several prescription drugs, the fiber in grapefruit helps against cholesterol buildup in the arteries. Grapefruit juice, on the other hand, lacks fiber. Take a real grapefruit, quarter it, peel, seed and eat. If you're looking for a sweetener, use raw honey or natural sweeteners such as stevia and xylitol. Red grapefruit is rich in carotenoids and bioflavonoids. The fruit helps against the sharp rise in blood sugar that often occurs after a meal.
Soluble Fiber Foods: Our ancestors consumed a diet of 50 to 100 grams of fiber every day of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Our diet today consists of less than 20 grams, most of which is insoluble. Soluble fiber is important in that it forms into a gelatinous mass in the intestines which slows down the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream and improves the course of type 2 diabetes. To get more soluble fiber, simply eat more vegetables such as okra, Brussels sprouts, peas, broccoli, carrots, oats, beans.
Spinach, kale and collards are good sources of lutein, a carrotenoid found in large quantity in the lenses of the eyes. Consuming these foods can help against the onset of blindness that effects a great number
Green foods refer to green tea, and products that contain dehydrated barley grass, wheat grass or algae sources such as chlorella and spirulina. You get the benefit by mixing with water or juice. They are packed with phytochemicals, especially carotenes and chlorophyll. While you can grow your own, it's easier just to get them at your health food store. Some of the best products are: Greens Plus; Enriching Greens and ProGreens. Drink one or two servings per day 20 minutes before or 2 hours after a meal.
Green tea, orange and cranberry juice contain flavonoids which help fight inflammation. Drink more green tea than coffee.