Dietary Recommendations to Improve Diabetes and Insulin Resistance

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Eating in a way that balances your blood sugar, reduces inflammation and oxidative stress, and improves your liver detoxification is the key to preventing and reversing insulin resistance and diabetes.

This is a way of eating that based on a whole foods diet that’s high in fiber, rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, and low in sugars and flours, with a low glycemic load.

It is a way of eating that includes anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and detoxifying foods. It includes plenty of omega-3 fats and other healthy fats.

All these foods help prevent and reverse diabetes and insulin resistance. This is the way of eating than turns on all the right gene messages, promotes a healthy metabolism, and prevents aging and age-related diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

Here are more specifics.

Meal Timing

  • Eat protein for breakfast every day, such as our Cornerstone High Protein Meal Replacements or whole omega-3 eggs.
  • Eat a meal or snack every 3-4 hours to keep your insulin and glucose levels normal.
  • Include protein at every meal and snack to help regulate blood sugars.
  • Finish eating at least 2 to 3 hours before bed. If you eat appropriately and frequently earlier in the day, you will be in better balance and not be hungry or crave later in the evening.

Meal Composition

  • Controlling the glycemic load of your meals is very important.
  • You can do this by combining adequate protein and fats when eating carbohydrates including vegetables or fruit at every meal or snack.
  • It is most important to avoid eating any carbohydrates alone, as they raise your sugar and insulin levels and leave you hungry and wanting more.

What to Eat

Choose from a variety of the following real, whole foods:

  • Choose organic produce and animal products whenever possible.
  • Eat high-quality protein, such as fish — especially fatty, cold-water fish like salmon, halibut, herring, sardines — and shellfish.
  • Cold-water fish such as salmon, halibut, and sable contain an abundance of beneficial essential fatty acids, omega-3 oilsthat reduce inflammation. Choose smaller wild Alaskan salmon, sable, and halibut that are low in toxins. Canned wild salmon is a great “back up” food.
  • Whole omega 3 eggs.
  • Create meals that are high in low-glycemic legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, and soybeans (try edamame, the Japanese soybeans in a pod, quickly steamed with a little salt, as a snack). These foods slow the release of sugars into the bloodstream, which helps prevent the excess insulin release that can lead to health concerns like obesity, high blood pressure, and heart problems.
  • Eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables providing phytonutrientslike carotenoids, flavonoids, and polyphenols, which are associated with a lower incidence of nearly all health problems, including obesity and age-related disease.
  • Eat more low-glycemic vegetables, such as asparagus, broccoli, kale, spinach, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.
  • Berries, cherries, peaches, plums, rhubarb, pears, and apples are optimal fruits. Cantaloupes and other melons, grapes, and kiwifruit are suitable; however, they contain more sugar. You can use organic frozen berries (such as those from Cascadian Farms) in your protein shakes. Refer to fruit exchanges for appropriate portions.
  • Focus on anti-inflammatory foods, including wild fish, red and purple berries (these are rich in polyphenols), dark green leafy vegetables, orange sweet potatoes, and nuts.
  • Eat more antioxidant-rich foods, including orange and yellow vegetables, dark green leafy vegetables (kale, collards, spinach, etc.), anthocyanidins (berries, beets, grapes, pomegranate), purple grapes, blueberries, bilberries, cranberries, and cherries. In fact, antioxidants are in all colorful fruits and vegetables.
  • Include detoxifying foodsin your diet, such as cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, collards, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy, Chinese cabbage, and Chinese broccoli), green tea, watercress, dandelion greens, cilantro, artichokes, garlic, citrus peels, pomegranate, and even cocoa.
  • Season your food with herbs such as rosemary, ginger, and turmeric, which are powerful antioxidantsanti-inflammatories, and detoxifiers.
  • Avoid excessive quantities of mass production meats. Eat natural or grass-fed animal products, when possible. These include eggs, beef, chicken, pork, lamb, buffalo, and ostrich. There are good brands at local markets and other health-food stores. Another option is delivery or mail order sources.
  • Garlic and onions contain antioxidants, enhance detoxification, act as anti-inflammatories, and help lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • A diet high in fiberfurther helps to stabilize blood sugar by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates and supports a healthy lower bowel and digestive tract. Try to gradually increase fiber to 30 to 50 grams a day and use predominantly soluble or viscous fiber (legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, vegetables, and fruit), which slows sugar absorption from the gut.
  • Use extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil which contains anti-inflammatories and anti-oxidants, as your main cooking oil.
  • Include small amounts of nuts and seeds, including raw walnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, and pumpkin and flax seeds.
  • And yes … chocolate can be healthy, too. Choose only the darkest varieties and eat only 2 to 3 ounces once a week or so. It should contain 70 percent cocoa.

Decrease (or ideally eliminate) frequency and amounts eaten of:

  • All processed or junk foods
  • Foods containing refined white flour and sugar, such as breads, cereals (cornflakes, Frosted Flakes, puffed wheat, and sweetened granola), flour-based pastas, bagels, and pastries
  • All foods containing high-fructose corn syrup
  • All artificial sweeteners(aspartame, Sorbitol, etc.)
  • Starchy, high-glycemic cooked vegetables, such as potatoes, corn, and root vegetables such as rutabagas, parsnips, and turnips
  • Fruit juices, which are often loaded with
  • Processed canned vegetables (usually very high in sodium)
  • Foods containing hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils (which become trans fatty acids in the bloodstream), such as most crackers, chips, cakes, candies, cookies, doughnuts, and processed cheese
  • Processed oils such as corn, safflower, sunflower, and canola
  • Red meats (unless organic or grass-fed)
  • Large predatory fish and river fish, which contain mercury and other contaminants in unacceptable amounts, including swordfish, tuna, tilefish and shark
  • Milk— substitute unsweetened almond milk, Cashew, hazelnut milk or coconut milk as an alternative. If you don’t prefer milk alternative. Try limiting milk to 1 cup a day, always choose whole. Avoid non fat milk.
  • Alcohol — limit it to no more than 3 glasses a week of red wine per week

Balance Blood Sugar with Exercise

Exercise is critical for the improvement of insulin sensitivity. It helps reduce central body fat, improving sugar metabolism. Regular exercise will help decrease risk of diabetes, reduce your risk of complications, and even help reverse it.

Ideally you should do 30 minutes of walking every day. Walking after dinner is a powerful way to reduce your blood sugar.

Interval training can be an added benefit to helping improve your metabolism and mitochondrial function. It helps to increase the efficiency calorie burning so that you burn more calories and energy during the time you are NOT exercising.

Strength training also helps maintain and build muscle, which can help also with your overall blood sugar and energy metabolism.

Supplements that Can Help Improve Diabetes

Nutritional supplements can be very effective for Type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance.

  1. A multivitamin and mineral (included in our Cornerstone Wellness MD high protein meal replacements)
  2. Calcium and magnesiumand vitamin D.
  3. High Dose, ultra purified Omega 3 supplememnt, such as our Omega Health by Cornerstone Wellness MD. Improves insulin sensitivity, lowers cholesterol, and reduces inflammation. Omega Health
  4. Extra magnesium (200 to 600 mg a day) helps with glucose metabolism and is often deficient in diabetics.
  5. Chromium (500 to 1,000 mcg day) is very important for proper sugar metabolism. Included in our MetAssist metabolic support by Cornerstone Wellness MD.
  6. Antioxidants (such as vitamins C and E) are important in helping to reduce and balance blood sugar.
  7. B-complex vitaminsare important and are part of a good multivitamin. Extra vitamin B6 (50 to 150 mg a day) and B12 (1,000 to 3,000 mcg) are especially helpful in protecting against diabetic neuropathy or nerve damage.
  8. Biotin (2,000 to 4,000 mcg a day) enhances insulin sensitivity.
  9. Alpha-lipoic acid (300 mg twice a day), a powerful antioxidant that can reduce blood sugar significantly. It also can be effective for diabetic nerve damage or neuropathy.
  10. Evening primrose oil (500 to 1,000 mg twice a day) helps overcome deficiencies common in diabetics.
  11. Use cinnamon as a supplement. One to two 500 mg tablets twice a day can help blood sugar control.
  12. Other herbs and supplements that can be helpful include green tea, ginseng, bitter melon, gymnema, bilberry, ginkgo, onions, and garlic. Fenugreek can also be used to help improve blood sugar
  13. Banaba leaf (Lagerstroemia speciosa) can be an effective herb. Take 24 mg twice a day.
  14. Konjac fiber, such as PGX (WellBetX), four capsules 10 minutes before meals with a glass of water. This helps reduce blood sugar after meals and improves long-term blood sugar control while reducing appetite and cholesterol.

Manage Diabetes by Managing Stress

Stress plays a dramatic role in blood sugar imbalances. It triggers insulin resistance, promotes weight gain around the middle, increases inflammation, and ultimately can cause diabetes. So it’s essential to engage in relaxation practices on a regular basis, such as yoga, breathing, muscle relaxation, hot baths, exercise, meditation, massage, biofeedback, hypnosis.

Travel Suggestions

Remember, real food is the best. So pack a cooler with snack such as cheese, harb boiled eggs or other protein option. You can have with a fruit exchange. Not prepared, stash almonds in zip lock bags and beef jerky in your as a useful emergency snack. Or stop at a gas station and pick up any of the above.

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