Over 800,000 Australians have type 2 diabetes, but new research suggests 60% can reverse this condition. New studies have found the number of Australians diagnosed with all types of diabetes has trebled in the past 20 years – and 800,000 of the 1.07 million cases are type 2. But Diabetes Australia estimates up to 60% of type 2 cases can be prevented and new research shows 50% of type 2 cases can be reversed.
While it is well known that a healthy lifestyle can help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes, researchers are now saying switching to a plant-based, wholefood diet and taking up exercise can actually reverse the condition.
Professor Wayne Dysinger, president of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, who recently addressed the Australian Lifestyle Medicine Association conference in Sydney, says about half of the cases of type 2 diabetes that have been diagnosed could be totally reversed by lifestyle change alone.
He says recent evidence from the US shows that after taking part in a 30-day intensive therapeutic lifestyle change program, close to 50% of diabetics were no longer diabetic.
The key to preventing and reversing diabetes is giving up processed, fatty foods, cutting back on meat, eating plant-based wholefoods and exercising.
A wholefood, plant-based diet can seem overwhelming for the average meat-and-three-veg eater but meals can be broken down into three easy components.
Look for lots of different-coloured vegetables and salads; some sort of grain, such as quinoa, rice pasta or brown rice; and a plant protein, such as chickpeas, lentils or tofu.
Research has found that diabetics who engaged in aerobic exercise got about 80% of the benefit in glucose control compared with the most commonly prescribed drugs. Strength training gave people about 60% of the gain of the first-line drugs for diabetes. So whether you do strength training or aerobic training or a combination, you’ll get a clinically significant improvement in glucose control.
Type 2 diabetes can be reversible. But it takes a really committed effort on the part of the patient and the patient’s family, friends and colleagues.
The Type 2 Diabetic Diet
Eating a well balanced diet from all the food groups is important if you have type 2 diabetes. The food groups include healthy fats, grains, lean meat, fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables and some dairy.
Best and Worst Foods for Diabetes:
Fibre helps to slow down digestion therefore preventing blood sugar spikes. Great fibre foods are legumes, nuts, seeds, oats, fruit and vegetables.
Foods high in sugar causes the blood sugar level to spike and become imbalanced. They can also bring about fatigue and mood swings.
Health food choices:
Lean beef and black beans enchilada with avocado and salsa sauce is a delicious Mexican meal that comprises of all the right nutrients important for a healthy wellbeing. The fibre in the beans can help to slow digestion therefore balancing blood sugar levels and can help to lower cholesterol. For extra vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants, go heavy on the veggies. Slow down with the cheese!
When you have diabetes, lunch is central to ensuring that the blood sugar levels have every chance of being balanced. Don’t grab for any sandwich on the go. Think about what would be the healthiest and what would fill you up! A tuna salad with all the vegetables dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a wholemeal roll on the side is a good choice.
Natural Treatments For Diabetes
In addition to diet and exercise, there are a number of natural treatment approaches which can help to keep type 2 diabetes under control.
- Vitamin E. Vitamin E can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke in diabetics, and there is mounting evidence that raised blood glucose levels lead to the production of more free radicals, and vitamin E has been shown to stop the production of free radicals. Vitamin E also helps with circulation and stabilises blood sugar
- Use onion and garlic liberally. Both are now known to have a significant ability to lower blood sugar.
- Take fenugreek seeds, as these have also been shown to be effective in lowering blood sugar.
- Include dandelion root, Jerusalem artichokes and burdock root in your diet. These all contain a substance called inulin, which assists in controlling blood sugar and in reducing hyperglycaemia and fatigue after a starchy meal.
- Take a spoonful of cinnamon every day, as this can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes. Cinnamon works by making cells more responsive to insulin.
- Supplement with ginseng. Scientists at the University of Toronto discovered that, if taken before a meal, ginseng reduces blood sugar levels.
As always, never take any supplements without consulting your health practitioner. Self-prescription can do more harm that good. For more information, book in with one of our naturopaths today to discover how you can manage, and even reverse, your diabetes.