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29 Sept 2022

Healthy Living: Don’t let diabetes get you down

Healthy Living:  Don’t let diabetes get you down

Almost 6% of the Irish population has diabetes

There is bad and good news about diabetes. The bad news is that diabetes is one of the largest health problems in the developed countries. Conventional treatment with medications is great for the short-term and helps to prolong organ damage but does not help to sensitize cells to insulin in the long-term.
The damage that insulin surges may cause in the long term is another ignored fact. The good news is that Type II diabetes is a lifestyle disease, therefore, it can be prevented, controlled, and even reversed by nutritional therapy. Long-term treatment goals are to balance blood sugar and re-sensitize cells to insulin. Type 1 - insulin dependent diabetes is unfortunately an irreversible autoimmune disorder; however, sugar and insulin surges should still be reduced to minimize complications and greatly improve the quality of life. The most important step that you can take is to avoid refined carbohydrates at all costs; that is, any white flour products, sweets, syrups, and fruit juice concentrates. See, carbohydrates in their natural, wholesome form contain fiber to slow the absorption of their sugars and they contain nutrients, such as Chromium, which help your body process these sugars.
According to the Linus Pauling Institute, chromium works by re-sensitizing the insulin receptors on the surface of every cell. Chromium not only helps lower your blood sugar but also lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, the precursor to diabetes.
Do not replace sugars with chemical sweeteners. These interfere with the balance of your gut flora - the base of good health, some have been linked to cause cancer, nerve damage, or just irritate the digestive tract and impair nutrient absorption. There are natural sweeteners, called Stevia and Xylitol, that are safe to use, and you can bake wholesome treats using these.
Even wholegrain carbohydrates raise blood glucose rapidly, depending on your digestive system, so always eat these with plenty of protein and beneficial fats, to help slow down the absorption of natural sugars. Eat at the same times, regularly – do not allow your blood sugar to dip too low. Reduce your intake of grains like regular breads, pasta, and rice, and increase beans and vegetables instead. You find all kinds of pasta made of legumes like lentils and chickpeas in health shops and better supermarkets, these are much better options.
Fruits are healthy but contain lots of sugars. Try to stick to dark berries, as those will help to balance blood sugar levels and help to keep the cardiovascular system in good condition. Stewed cooking apple with cinnamon and vanilla scented yoghurt topped with nuts is a wonderful gut microbiome promoting and tasty option.
Besides having a good diet, keep active even in the winter months.
Research has shown that 30-60 minutes of cardiovascular exercise (running, biking, swimming, walking briskly, etc.) helps both balance blood sugar level as well as sensitize cells to insulin.

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