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 Integrative Medicine: Diet and Diabetes 

How do you reduce your fat consumption? Here is a simple list of do's and don'ts.

  1. Don't fry food. Rather: bake, broil, steam or poach.
  2. Use low fat or skim milk dairy products.
  3. When buying canned products make certain they are packed in water and not oil.
  4. Do eat lean meats. Try to emphasize white poultry meat with the skin removed.
  5. Consider fish as a replacement for meats. You should avoid smoked fish and the dark fatty sections of some fish.
How do I Reduce my Salt Intake?
Reducing salt intake of particular importance. Salt is frequently a culprit in cases of high blood pressure. Individuals with diabetes tend to develop hypertension which can threaten the health of the kidneys and the circulatory system.

  1. Limit the use of prepared sauces such as mustard, ketchup, salad dressings and packaged foods high in "sodium."
  2. Persons with hypertension are recommended not to exceed 2000 milligrams of sodium a day. A teaspoon of salt has 2300 milligrams of sodium.
How do I Increase Fiber Intake?
There are numerous benefits in replacing animal protein-saturated foods with plant foods which are richer in fiber. Improved digestion and elimination, lowered blood cholesterol, lowered blood pressure, weight loss and an increased sensitivity to insulin are some of the possible benefits of increased fiber in the diet.

  1. Choose whole grain cereals, brown rice, barley, millet, oats, etc..
  2. Eat plenty of whole, raw, fresh vegetables and fruit. String beans, cucumbers, celery, Jerusalem artichokes, garlic, and onions are particularly good for the diabetic. Garlic, in fact, has been shown to reduce blood sugar in those suffering from diabetes.
Are There Any Herbs to Help the Individual with Diabetes?
Several herbal remedies have been used successfully by persons with diabetes. It is a good idea to experiment with one herb or herbal formula at a time, making sure that its effect on your blood sugar is beneficial. Typically, these herbs are used as a tea or an herbal extract. Make a strong decoction of the herb in hot water, and drink the tea one to three times a day. If you prefer the liquid extract, take the recommended dose in warm water two or three times daily. It is also acceptable to use the capsule or tablet form.

Siberian ginseng is a great place to start for the diabetic, as it can aid in the regulation of blood sugar. As an "adaptogenic" herb, it helps the body adapt to stress, including the metabolic stress of blood sugar fluctuations. It often has a harmonizing effect on blood glucose, making it the ideal remedy for the diabetic to consider. In addition, rarely does one find an unfavorable reaction to Siberian ginseng.

Other botanicals include dandelion root and goldenseal*. These two herbs assist digestion, and are best taken with a meal to reap optimal benefits. The herbs blueberry leaf, nettle leaf, red raspberry leaf, and string bean pod are better when taken one hour before a meal as they may ultimately help reduce the quantity of insulin needed. Horsetail and alfalfa, both high in silica and other trace minerals, are best taken at the beginning of a meal. Juniper berries, which are cleansing to the kidneys, may be taken between meals. Keep records on how each one affects your blood sugar levels. Ideally, you will find a few that you can rely on to help stabilize your condition.

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 About The Author
Janet Zand LAc, OMDJANET ZAND, O.M.D., L.Ac. is a nationally respected author, lecturer, practitioner and herbal products formulator whose work has helped thousands of people achieve better health....more
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