Food will always be our best medicine, and this is particularly the case with diabetes. Early intervention can stop this potentially debilitating disease in its tracks by making only a few changes in an individual’s eating and lifestyle habits. It is important to note that diabetes is not, in fact, a disease of blood sugar, but it’s actually a disorder of insulin and leptin signaling. Insulin regulation plays such as an integral role in your health and longevity that elevated levels are not only symptoms of diabetes, but other diseases, as well (heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, peripheral vascular disease, obesity, and cancer).
There are tests that can be done to determine diabetes risk:
HbA1c – is a 3 month average of your blood sugar levels and will show if you are in the clear, pre-diabetic, or diabetic.
Insulin – this test will shows how much insulin is in your bloodstream – the higher the number, the less regulation of your blood sugar levels. There are insulin receptors in your brain that bind to insulin. Increased sugar intake can affect the ability for these to bind and could possibly lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
Here is a brief list of dietary and lifestyle recommendations to prevent diabetes:
Foods to avoid: Basically all sugar (especially fructose and high-fructose corn syrup) and grains – including sweets, sodas, juices, breads, pasta, cereals, rice, potatoes, and corn. You may also want to avoid or restrict fruit consumption until your blood sugar gets under control.
Top foods to consume: Moderate amounts of protein (high-quality meats, poultry, fish, eggs, beans), low-starch vegetables (especially onions), raw nuts and seeds, coconut oil, olive oil and cinnamon.
Exercise. Exercise is one of the most powerful ways to lower your insulin and leptin resistance.
Get plenty of high-quality omega-3 fats, such as those found in fish or krill oil.
Balance gut flora – Eat fermented foods (like fermented vegetables, raw organic cheese or kefir, and natto) or take a high-quality probiotic supplement.
Monitor your fasting insulin level – Every bit as important as your fasting blood sugar, your fasting insulin level should be checked (optimal insulin level should be between 2 and 4). The higher your level, the worse your insulin sensitivity is. Insulin levels are not typically included in most requested blood work from your doctor. Ask to have it included.
Insulin resistance and muscle loss – It’s also important to understand that in order to maintain healthy muscle and avoid the development of sarcopenia (muscle loss associated with the aging process), we must maintain healthy insulin levels. Insulin sensitivity is essential for proper protein building in your muscle. If your insulin receptors are insensitive, muscle wasting is inevitable.