Step 1: Remove These Foods to Reverse Diabetes Naturally
Certain foods negatively affect your blood sugar levels, cause inflammation and trigger immune responses. To reverse diabetes naturally, the first step is to remove these foods from your diet:
- Refined sugar: Refined sugar rapidly spikes blood glucose, and soda, fruit juice and other sugary beverages are the worst culprits. These forms of sugar enter the bloodstream rapidly and can cause extreme elevations in blood glucose. (7) Even though natural sweeteners like raw honey and maple syrup are better options, they can still affect blood sugar levels, so only use these foods on occasion. Your best option is to switch to stevia, a natural sweetener that won’t have as much of an impact.
- Grains: Grains, especially gluten-containing grains like wheat, contain large amounts of carbohydrates that are broken down into sugar within only a few minutes of consumption. Gluten can cause intestinal inflammation, which affects hormones like cortisol and leptin, and can lead to spikes in blood sugar. I recommend removing all grains from your diet for 90 days as your body adjusts to this healing program. Then you can try bringing sprouted ancient grains back into your diet in small amounts.
- Conventional cow’s milk: Conventional cow’s milk and dairy products should be eliminated, especially for people with type 1 diabetes. Dairy can be a fantastic food for balancing blood sugar if it comes from goat’s, sheep or A2 cows. But stay away from all other forms of dairy because the A1 casein produced by conventional cows will harm the body and trigger an immune response similar to gluten. When buying dairy, only purchase raw and organic products from pasture-raised animals.
- Alcohol: Alcohol can dangerously increase blood sugar and lead to liver toxicity. Research published in Annals of Internal Medicine found that there was a 43 percent increased incidence of diabetes associated with heavy consumption of alcohol, which is defined as three or more drinks per day. (8) Beer and sweet liquors are especially high in carbohydrates and should be avoided.
- GMO foods: GMO corn, soy and canola have been linked to kidney and liver disease and may promote diabetes. I suggest removing all GMO foods and all packaged foods from your diet. Opt for products that are labeled organic or GMO-free.
- Hydrogenated oils: Remove hydrogenated, rancid oils from your diet, including vegetable oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil and canola oil. Because these oils are processed, treated at very high temperatures, and combined with bleaching agents and artificial dyes, consuming them has been linked to many health concerns, including diabetes.
Step 2: Incorporate These Foods to Treat Diabetes
To reverse or prevent type 2 diabetes, add the following foods into your diet:
- Foods high in fiber: Research shows that 90 percent of the U.S. population doesn’t consume enough fiber on a daily basis. High-fiber foods help slow down glucose absorption, regulate your blood sugar levels and support detoxification. Aim to eat at least 30 grams of fiber per day, which can come from vegetables (like Brussels sprouts, peas and artichokes), avocados, berries, nuts and seeds, especially chia seeds and flaxseeds. (9)
- Foods high in chromium: Chromium is a nutrient that’s involved in normal carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. Foods high in chromium can improve the glucose tolerance factor in your body and naturally balance out blood glucose levels. It plays a role in insulin pathways, helping bring glucose into our cells so it can be used for bodily energy. Broccoli has the highest amounts of chromium, but you can also find it in raw cheese, green beans, brewer’s yeast and grass-fed beef. (10)
- Magnesium-rich foods: Magnesium can help regulate blood sugar levels because it plays a role in glucose metabolism. Research shows that diabetes is frequently associated with magnesium deficiency. Eating magnesium-rich foods, like spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds, almonds, yogurt and black beans, can improve type 2 diabetes symptoms. (11)
- Healthy fats: Medium-chained fatty acids found in coconut and red palm oil can help balance blood sugar levels, and they serve as the preferred fuel source for your body rather than sugar. Using coconut milk, ghee and grass-fed butter can also help balance out your blood sugar levels, so include these foods into your meals and smoothies.
- Clean protein: Eating protein foods has a minimal effect on your blood glucose levels, and it can slow down the absorption of sugar. Some of the best sources of clean protein include wild-caught fish, which contains omega-3 fats that reduce inflammation, grass-fed beef, organic chicken, lentils, eggs and bone broth.
- Foods with a low glycemic load: The glycemic index of a food tells you about the blood glucose-raising potential of the food. Foods that have a high glycemic index are converted into sugar after being eaten more quickly than low glycemic foods. If you are fighting diabetes, stick to low glycemic foods like non-starchy vegetables, stone fruits and berries, nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut, organic meat, eggs, wild-caught fish, and raw pastured dairy.
Step 3: Take These Supplements for Diabetes
1. Chromium Picolinate
Taking 200 micrograms of chromium picolinate three times daily with meals can help improve insulin sensitivity. A review published in Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics evaluated 13 studies that reported significant improvement in glycemic control and substantial reductions in hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia after patients used chromium picolinate supplementation. Other positive outcomes from supplementing with chromium picolinate included reduced cholesterol and triglyceride levels and reduced requirements for hypoglycemic medication. (12)
Cinnamon has the ability to lower blood sugar levels and improve your sensitivity to insulin. A study conducted at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, Calif. found that the consumption of cinnamon is associated with a statistically significant decrease in plasma glucose levels, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Cinnamon consumption also helped increase HDL cholesterol levels. (13)
To take advantage of the many health benefits of cinnamon, add one teaspoon to food, smoothies or tea. You can also take one to two drops of cinnamon essential oil internally by adding it to food or tea, or combine three drops of cinnamon oil with half a teaspoon of coconut oil and massage it into your wrists and abdomen.
3. Fish Oil
Taking a fish oil supplement can help improve markers of diabetes by reducing triglyceride levels and raising HDL cholesterol levels. Research published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences shows that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are necessary for proper insulin function, preventing insulin intolerance and reducing inflammation. (14) To use fish oil as a natural remedy for diabetes, take 1,000 milligrams daily.
4. Alpha Lipoic Acid
Alpha lipoic acid is an antioxidant that helps turn glucose into fuel for the body. It effectively improves insulin sensitivity and reduces symptoms ofdiabetic neuropathy, such as weakness, pain and numbness that’s caused by nerve damage. Although we make alpha lipoic acid and it can be found in some food sources, like broccoli, spinach and tomatoes, taking an ALA supplement will increase the amount that circulates in your body, which can be extremely beneficial when trying to reverse diabetes naturally. (15)
5. Bitter Melon Extract
Bitter melon helps lower blood glucose levels, and it regulates the body’s use of insulin. Studies show that bitter melon extract can help reduce and manage symptoms of diabetes, including insulin resistance, heart complications, kidney damage, blood vessel damage, eye disorders and hormone irregularities. (16)
Step 4: Follow This Eating Plan to Reverse Diabetes
If you want to balance your blood sugar and see results quickly, then follow this diabetes eating plan as closely as possible. Focus on getting plenty of clean protein, healthy fats and fiber into every meal, which can help reverse diabetes.
Start by trying these first three days of the plan, and then use a combination of these foods going forward. Review the list of foods that you should be eating from Step 2, and bring those healthy, diabetes-fighting foods into your diet as well. It may seem like a major change to your diet at first, but after some time you will begin to notice the positive effects these foods are having on your body.
Step 5: Exercise to Balance Blood Sugar
Exercise reduces chronic disease and can help reverse diabetes naturally. Studies show that exercise improves blood glucose control and can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes, while also positively affecting your blood pressure, heart health, cholesterol levels and quality of life. (17)
Exercise naturally supports your metabolism by burning fat and building lean muscle. To prevent and reverse diabetes, make exercise a part of your daily routine. This doesn’t necessary mean that you have to spend time at the gym. Simple forms of physical activity, like getting outside and walking for 20 to 30 minute every day, can be extremely beneficial, especially after meals. Practicing yoga or stretching at home or in a studio is another great option.
In addition to walking and stretching exercises, try interval training cardio, like burst training, or weight training three to five days a week for 20–40 minutes. Burst training can help you burn up to three times more body fat than traditional cardio and can naturally increase insulin sensitivity. You can do this on a spin bike with intervals, or you can try burst training at home.
Strength training using free weights or machines is also recommended because it helps you build and maintain muscle, which supports balanced blood sugar and sugar metabolism.
Final Thoughts on How to Reverse Diabetes
- More than 30 million people — nearly 10 percent of the population — have diabetes in the U.S., including children. Almost 7.2 million of those people aren’t even aware of it.
- Another 34 million adults are prediabetic.
- It’s the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. and costs hundreds of billions of dollars per year.
- Type 1 diabetes typically occurs before someone turns 20 and is rarely reversed, but it can be managed through diet and lifestyle changes.
- Type 2 diabetes is more common and usually occurs in people over 40, especially if they’re overweight.
- In order to reverse diabetes naturally, remove foods like refined sugar, grains, conventional cow’s milk, alcohol, GMO foods and hydrogenated oils from your diet; incorporate healthy foods like foods high in fiber, chromium, magnesium, healthy fats and clean protein, along with foods with low glycemic loads; take supplements for diabetes; follow my diabetic eating plan; and exercise to balance blood sugar.
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