We live in a day and age where the general consensus is to rely on prescription medications as the quick fix for a variety of ailments, including regulating your blood sugar. But, with a growing concern over how these synthetic options might not be the right first choice, and the issue of how expensive it is to attain them, it’s important to become aware of alternative options to help keep your health in check. Millions of American adults are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes each year, with the number continuing to grow, making it pertinent that you partake in prevention. (Note: Lifestyle changes can make a difference for Type 2 diabates which is what we’re addressing in this article. We are not addressing Type 1 diabetes.) Many healthcare professionals will tell you that there are specific lifestyle choices that can aid in this process, including physical activity, healthy eating, portion control and low sugar consumption. But there are additional ways you can boost your chances of steering clear of Type 2 diabetes by controlling blood sugar levels, including a variety of herbs, spices and various other common foods. Below are 9 options to get you started:
A study conducted at The University of Georgia discovered a direct connection between the phenol content in herbs and spices and their ability to inhibit the production of AGE compounds, or advanced glycation end products, which are proteins or lipids that become glycated as a result of exposure to sugars. Cinnamon has been found to have 18 percent phenol content in dry weight, making it a great option for improving insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control.
Blueberries are one of the healthiest fruits you can consume, and are recommended by nutrition specialists for dealing with a variety of health issues. The dark color in them means they provide antioxidants and various other compounds that are good for your boosting your well being. They’re well-known for improving insulin sensitivity, too.
Not only do cloves contain 30 percent levels of the antioxidant phenol in dry weight, but they also have the antioxidants anthocyanins and quercetin. The benefits of consuming them have shown wide and varied, from serving as an antiseptic and germicidal to being anti-inflammatory, analgesic and digestive aid. A study done in 2006 found that individuals who had been taking some level of clove supplementation every day for 30 days showed a decrease in risk factors for diabetes as well as heart disease.
Related: 7 Steps For Heart Health
Well-known for soothing the stomach and aiding in digestion, ginger is also a great option for leveling blood glucose levels. A study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition discovered that the popular kitchen ingredient may be an effective treatment for the prevention of diabetes and its complications, concluding that “ginger improved insulin sensitivity and some fractions of lipid profile, and reduced CRP and PGE2 in type 2 diabetic patients. Therefore ginger can be considered as an effective treatment for prevention of diabetes complications.”
Sometimes referred to as marjoram, this herb makes its way into many Spanish and Mediterranean recipes. Medicinally speaking, it is thought to treat bacterial and parasitic infections. One study, published in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, discovered that compounds in the herb appear to mimic prescription drugs used to fight diabetes.
Commonly used in curry powders, scientists have shown interest in the potential blood sugar-lowering properties of turmeric and curcumin, which is one of the spice’s active substances. Researchers in Thailand conducted a placebo-controlled study that involved 240 participants with prediabetes who took curcumin extract for nine months or placebo. The study concluded that none of the participants who took curcumin developed diabetes, while 16 percent of the placebo group did.
Used by herbal medicine practitioners to treat uterine bleeding and cramps, this herb contains phytosterols that are known for their cooling effect. One study discovered that diabetics who drank infusions of sage on an empty stomach had a valuable reduction in their blood sugar levels.
One of nature’s most beloved candies, cherries are a pleasant and nourishing addition to the summer seasons between their flavor and anthocyanins—universal plant colorants that are responsible for the red, purple, and blue hues in many foods. A study conducted in 2014 found that women who ate diets high in anthocyanins from cherries resulted in less systemic inflammation and improved insulin resistance.
Garlic makes its way into so many dishes; packed with plenty of flavor and a pungent aroma, it’s easy to know when someone is making something full of this good-for-you vegetable. Rich in sulfur compounds, specifically hydrogen sulfide gas, which dilate blood vessels, garlic has been used for years to lower cholesterol levels. It’s also a promising alternative option for lowering blood sugar, too. One study in rats showed that serum glucose of diabetic rats increased while serum insulin decreased when compared with normal rats.