Making sense of Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that causes the blood to become saturated with glucose, aka sugar. Because glucose is our primary source of fuel for our cells, we need to make sure that our cells get enough glucose to give us energy to get through the day. So where does glucose come from? When we eat food, it is broken down into different nutrients by our digestive system. Take carbohydrate for example, carbs are broken down into different chains of glucose. However, for glucose to be used, it needs a hormone called insulin which is produced by the pancreas. Think of insulin as a glucose’s magic ticket that allows it to journey its way into the mitochondria of the cell. Without insulin, glucose builds up in the blood raising blood sugar level, known as the glycemic index. After meals, the pancreas releases more insulin, permitting the blood glucose to travel. When someone has type 2 diabetes, their cells become resistant to insulin. This prevents glucose from travelling out of the blood and into the cell. With time the pancreas cannot enough insulin needed to make up for this cellular resistance. As consequence, several symtoms can develop such as weakness, blurred vision, frequent infections, drowsiness, frequent urination, numbness or tingling in the hands and excessive thirst. It is an important metabolic disorder to treat because over time high blood glucose levels can damage the blood vessels and major organs. If left untreated, type 2 Diabetes can cause nerve damage, poor circulation, heart disease, blindness and kidney disease. Being overweight, genetics and having a sedentary lifestyle is the major contributor of type 2 diabetes. There are also many drugs that can contribute to its development, such as corticosteroids, antipsychotics, statins, beta-blockers and thiazide diuretics.

In naturopathy, we like to emphasize a holistic approach to good health.

Therefore, when we encounter a client with insulin resistance, diet and lifestyle plays a major role in that conversation. Our protocols recommend a low-carbohydrate whole foods paleo diet, rich is vegetables and healthy proteins. Minimizing refined carbohydrates, wheat, sugars and processed foods are key. Slow-digesting carbohydrates such as vegetables and whole grains do not cause the same spike in glycemia. Turning away from unhealthy vegetable oils is also a bonus. Incorporating healthy fats such as coconut, olive, avocado and flax can help slow the release of glucose in the blood and contributes to satiety. In addition to diet, it is important to get a healthy sleep. Nearly 25% of diabetics report not getting adequate sleep. Sleep deprivation puts you at higher risk of having elevated blood sugar levels.

Top ten vegetables for Diabetics

1. Okra
2. Spinach
3. Bitter Melon
4. Cabbage
5. Broccoli
6. Amla (Indian Gooseberry)
7. Garlic
8. Konjac Root
9. Artichoke
10. Cauliflower

Top ten herbs & spices for Diabetics

1. Cinnamon
2. Ginger
3. Fenugreek
4. Dandelion
5. Chanca Piedra
6. Aloe Vera
7. Gymnema
8. Milk Thistle
9. Ginseng
10. Holy Basil (Tulsi)