In my first blog of this series, I wrote about common herbs and spices for fighting diabetes. Here, I will highlight ordinary superfoods that are quite extraordinary for controlling glucose, insulin and staving off/managing Types 2 diabetes.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Did you know that drinking some apple cider vinegar before meals and at bedtime has been shown to lower post-meal glucose levels by 34%? Vinegar slows the absorption of carbohydrates into the blood or slows the breakdown of starches into sugars. The study also showed that vinegar increases insulin sensitivity, similar to metformin, a common diabetes drug. This study showed that consuming vinegar at bedtime reduced fasting blood glucose in the morning. This is great news for me as I tend to have a higher faster blood glucose level in the morning.
Top Tip: I love to add a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar to my morning cup of water (8oz) with a flavored electrolyte tablet or to my sparkling water (I’m a fan of Pellegrino) at mealtimes – it’s actually quite delicious.
Here are a couple that have been independently tested and verified for acetic acid content:
Avocados are a fruit that are a great source of healthy monounsaturated fat and vitamins (like folate), minerals (potassium) and antioxidants (lutein, zeaxanthin).
The beauty of healthy fats is that they can help stabilize your blood sugar and insulin while keeping you satiated longer. The oleic acid, the monounsaturated fat in avocados can also help lower LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol).
Top Tip: My favorite way to consume avocado is in my morning shake but how about an avocado-topped salad for lunch or as part of your evening meal?
If you’re a fan of coffee like me, there’s good news! A recent study from UCLA showed that drinking as much as four cups of coffee daily can decrease the risk of developing Type-2 diabetes by more than 50%. This is due to the raised levels of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) in the blood which reduces the risk of diabetes. But too much coffee can also give you the jitters, crash your adrenals and prevent you from getting good sleep – so how do you strike the right balance? This study showed that decaf coffee and tea had a similar effect on diabetes reduction so now you can imbibe coffee more freely.
Remember to buy organic and sustainably grown coffee that is free of pesticides and environmentally sound if possible. Check out this list of the best organic coffee brands and their fair trade rating: https://www.littlecoffeeplace.com/organic-coffee-beans
Top Tip: I like to add some nut milk creamer or an MCT/ghee-based creamer to kick it up a notch – it’s like drinking dessert! Here are a couple to try:
Nuts and Seeds
In one of my previous anti-cancer blogs, I highlighted nuts as a superfood loaded with bioavailable active compounds that impact the cellular processes involved in cancer cell development and growth. Nuts are the perfect snack for just about everyone – they come with ample plant protein and healthy fats to keep you satiated, reduce cravings and keep blood sugar in check. All varieties of nuts have a low glycemic index score (almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, cashews, macadamias, brazil). Nuts are full of minerals like iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, zinc and selenium. They are also a good source of potassium, magnesium and fiber. Check out my blog on these superfoods and recommendations.
Top Tip: Sprinkle nuts on your morning cereal or munch on them during the day as a health snack. They’re surprisingly filling! And don’t forget to include seeds as part of your diet too – check out my blog on types to try.
Numerous studies have shown that olive oil, rich in monounsaturated fat, has numerous ︎health︎ benefits. It’s also been well researched that people consuming the Mediterranean diet where olive oil is used regularly in lieu of other fats have much lower rates of heart disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer, and asthma. This study showed that a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil reduces the risk of Type 2 Diabetes by almost 50% compared to a standard low fat diet. Olive oil helps lower triglyceride levels and improve adiponectin levels. Adiponectin regulates sugar and fat metabolism, improves insulin sensitivity and exhibits anti-inflammatory properties on the lining of the blood vessel walls. Low blood levels of adiponectin is a risk factor for metabolic syndrome and pre-diabetes.
Top Tip: When purchasing olive oil, it’s important to purchase in small quantities to maintain freshness during consumption. Also, make sure it’s not contaminated/adulterated with other oils. How can you tell? Here are three Extra Virgin OIive Oils that have been independently tested and verified:
Cautionary note: Unless you are taking olive oil baths or feeding an army, if you buy this, you may want to spread the love and share with others before the oil goes rancid. The problem is you won’t necessarily smell anything different so it’s really hard to know what you are actually consuming after six months from press date have passed.
Wild Caught Fish, Grass-fed Meat and Free-range Poultry
Naturally-raised meat that is antibiotic and hormone free and eats what it was born to eat (like grass and bugs) contains the highest amount of nutrients with higher health omega 3 fat content and other essential fatty acids. On the other hand, commercially raised meats are fed corn, soy, grains, discarded candy and even minced up meat (yes – it’s cannibalistic). The same goes for farmed fish – they are raised in containment and are pumped with antibiotics to prevent disease.
The saying “you are what you eat” is the same for animals. If you eat meat and fish that are fed unnatural food and drugs, you will be eating unnatural food and drugs.
Top Tip: Opt for grass-fed beef, wild caught fish like salmon, and free range, organic poultry and eggs. And yes, it’s more expensive but remember, we should all aim to eat less non-plant based protein sources, so double-up on the veg and take a “less is more” approach. It should be condi-meat!