There are two types of diabetes. Type one is severe, probably requiring insulin injections, and is sometimes called juvenile diabetes. Type two is also serious although usually develops in adults.
Type two is thought to be an immunity disorder. It is a chronic degenerative disease in which the body's ability to use carbohydrates is reduced due to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance causes glucose to build up in the bloodstream and deprives cells of nutrients.
Cause of diabetes are not completely understood but may include poor diet, chromium deficiencies, obesity due to fat metabolism malfunction, pancreas and liver malfunctions, allergies, and hypothyroidism. Some research hints that a virus may be the cause.
Symptoms of diabetes include high blood sugar, constant hunger, dry or itchy skin, excessive thirst, lack of energy, apathy, mental confusion, frequent kidney infections, cramps, blurred vision, menstrual problems, excessive urination, obesity, hypertension, decreased immunity, and accelerated aging. Long term complications include scarring of the retina, damage to peripheral nerves, chronic kidney failure, atherosclerosis, and disorders of the thyroid.
Both types of diabetes benefit from good diet, exercise, and maintaining correct body weight. All fatty foods and refined sugars should be avoided. Lots of whole grains and vegetables should be eaten daily. High fiber is a key to controlling sugar diabetes. Diabetics should eat slow-burning complex carbohydrates (that don't need much insulin for metabolism). These foods release nutrients slowly thus preventing rapid blood sugar spikes. Diabetics should also eat small, frequent meals throughout the day.
Foods containing chromium are good for controlling diabetes. Raw onions, broccoli, turkey, raw tomatoes, lettuce, grape juice, and potatoes contain chromium although no one food is especially rich in this nutrient.
Green salads, cabbage, citrus fruits, beans, flax seed oil, salmon, olive oil, and turmeric are recommended additions to the diet. Onions, especially the outer skin, contain a compound that helps protect the eyes. When preparing a stew or soup, try leaving the dried skins on the onions.
There are herbs that balance and stabilize blood sugar levels. Dandelion, licorice, fenugreek, ginseng, goat's rue, stinging nettle, and rosemary should be consumed on a regular basis. Fenugreek actually contains six blood sugar regulating compounds. Other herbs help in the formation of insulin and include garlic, bilberry, burdock, and astragalus. Some herbs help the body use excess insulin and include bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, and turmeric.
Try a refreshing drink of black tea with an added pinch of cinnamon, cloves, and turmeric. Pour over ice to help beat the summer heat.
Another herb that is extremely useful in the treatment of diabetes is stevia. Known as sweet leaf, stevia is extremely sweet and can be used in small amounts as a food supplement (stevia extracts are up to 300 times sweeter than sugar and cause no apparent rise in blood glucose levels). Stevia has been shown to actually enhance glucose tolerance. This herb, related to the sunflower, is also used in the treatment of obesity and high blood sugar.
Massage and reflexology can help treat diabetes. Blend carrier oil with sage, neroli, lemon, frankincense, or lavender essential oil for a massage that helps circulation and relieves stress. Other essential oils that help balance secretions from the pancreas include eucalyptus, geranium, juniper, and rosemary.
* Always consult with a healthcare professional before using any herbal remedies.
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