With the World Health Organization predicting that diabetes will be the 7th leading cause of death by the year 2030, it has never been more important to manage diabetes, or the risk of diabetes, in a healthy manner. Neal Barnard MD is the founder and president of the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). He advocates a healthy, plant-based diet as a way to prevent diabetes. Dr. Barnard and PCRM have been kind enough to share a few healthy eating tips to help manage the risk of diabetes in an easy, straight-forward manner.
Healthy Blood Sugar with Cinnamon
Cinnamon is not only delicious; it also helps reduce blood sugar levels. Adding just ½ teaspoon of cinnamon to your meals on a daily basis can reduce your blood sugar levels by 18 to 29 percent by affecting the following:
- Cinnamon can increase the body’s ability to metabolize (break down) glucose by up to 20 times.
- Cinnamon acts as an insulin substitute for those with lower insulin levels.
- Cinnamon slows down digestion, giving the body more time to metabolize glucose which helps maintain blood sugar levels.
- Cinnamon contains the antioxidant polyphenol. They can help obese individuals with impaired fasting glucose by acting as an insulin sensitizer.
- Bioflavonoids in cinnamon may alter the insulin-signaling activity in your fat cells.
Besides oatmeal and baked goods, you can also add cinnamon to side dishes like squash, quinoa, or soups. For those who have severely high blood sugar levels, a capsule of up to 500mg of cinnamon can be taken daily, with a physician’s consent.
Manage Blood Sugar with Fruit and Vegetables
Keeping blood sugar levels steady reduces cravings and helps you stay in control of your body’s ability to manage insulin production. Plant-based diets can help you control cravings by providing a steady stream of nutrition – so your body does not have to deal with highs and lows. Avoiding the lows will lead to healthier eating habits as your body won’t suddenly crave sugar, while avoiding the highs helps to avoid stressing your system. Foods that are great for managing blood sugar levels include beans, green vegetables, whole grains and fruit. Ensuring that your body receives regular, smaller meals will help to provide more energy and more stable blood sugar levels than fewer, larger meals. For an eye-opening look at how a plant-based diet helps reverse diabetes, watch Dr. Barnard’s TEDx presentation “Diabetes Dilemma” below: