Celiac disease is a malabsorption syndrome and chronic digestive disorder. The intestine is not able to absorb vital dietary nutrients from foods containing gliadin, an alcohol-soluble portion of gluten. This condition which is often hereditary means the sufferer has a serious intolerance to wheat (including durum, semolina and spelt), rye, oats, barley, and related grain hybrids such as tritaclae and kamut.
Arthritis refers to inflammation of the joint. The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis which is characterised by joint degeneration and loss of cartilage. Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis which is also an autoimmune disorder. In this case the body's immune system attacks its own cartilage and tissue surrounding the joints.
Some detoxification experts advocate fasting, while others do not. It is known that the components of any well-designed detox program will stimulate the body to cleanse itself, but people who are underweight, are undernourished, have weak hearts, have blood sugar issues or are ill should avoid fasting. Some studies have shown that restricting food intake can actually lead to bingeing.
Hemorrhoids are extremely common in industrialised countries and it is estimated that fifty percent of persons over fifty years of age have symptoms of hemorrhoidal disease. Although most people may begin to develop hemorrhoids in the twenties, the symptoms do not become evident normally until in ones thirties!
DIABETES - natural treatment and remedies
- What is diabetes?
- How do I treat diabetes naturally?
- Diabetes: Natural treatments and remedies
- Diet for diabetes
- Foods and substances to avoid or minimise
- Herbs & Supplements for diabetes
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterised by the body's increasing inability to utilise carbohydrates. Type I or insulin-dependent (ODD) diabetes is the kind that starts between early childhood and the age of 35, and while complementary therapies can help - they cannot cure this condition and do not have the same dramatic impact as with Type II or non-insulin dependent (NIDD), which starts in adulthood.
The body breaks down carbohydrates in the diet to form glucose, which is its main source of energy. What happens with diabetes is that either the pancreas does not produce enough of the hormone, insulin, to then convert this glucose into energy; or that the cells become in effect desensitised to the insulin that is being produced so that the pancreas then goes into overdrive.
The main symptoms of diabetes, which are the result of blood sugar levels that are too high, include excessive thirst, a significant increase in the frequency of urination, increased appetite, tiredness, lethargy, and weight loss. Other less characteristic symptoms include muscle cramps, tingling of the limbs, impaired or blurred vision, itchy skin, and slow wound healing.
There is a genetic link, since the condition tends to run in families - but it can also be triggered by pregnancy, surgery, or an extreme physical and emotional shock (such as being involved in a serious car accident, or even a sudden bereavement).
Weight management is crucial in controlling the condition in non-insulin dependent diabetes - which is common among those who are obese, but since (for a long time) the orthodox dietary advice was to avoid carbohydrates this proved difficult because patients then ended up eating a high fat diet.
Conventional medicine has now rethought this advice, and diabetics are told to try and eat a healthy, normal diet that does include the high fibre carbohydrates such as whole grains, pasta, and beans but that is low in fat.
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Important Note; Diabetic patients who are currently taking blood glucose-lowering medications should take note that dietary changes recommended below may significantly lower blood sugar levels. It's very important to adopt these changes slowly while monitoring blood sugar and continuing to see a doctor. Failure to monitor blood sugar and medication levels can result in very low blood sugar levels, which can be dangerous.
A poor diet is probably the most important cause of type 2 diabetes. Studies of the eating habits of different populations have revealed that diets high in fat (especially animal fat), animal protein, refined sugars, processed carbohydrates, and trans fatty acids, and low in fiber and complex carbohydrates are associated with a greatly increased risk of type 2 diabetes. This translates to a diet high in meat, dairy, margarine, refined vegetable oils, white flour products, and sugar. Unfortunately, this is the diet commonly consumed by people in the United States, also known as the Standard American Diet (appropriately abbreviated as "SAD").Refined grains and the foods made from them (e.g., white breads, cookies, pastries, pasta and rice) are now being linked not only to weight gain but to increased risk of insulin resistance (the precursor of type 2 diabetes) and the metabolic syndrome (a strong predictor of both type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease), while eating more wholegrain foods is being shown to protect against all these ills. Common features of the metabolic syndrome include visceral obesity (the “apple shaped” body), low levels of protective HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, and high blood pressure
Legumes have just the right blend of fiber, protein, and nutrients to have the profound effect on blood sugar. A meal containing beans has a positive effect on the blood sugar and even can have a positive response to the next meal eaten, even if the next meal does not contain beans. Beans can be mixed with a number of different types of foods and still maintain their excellent effects on blood glucose levels. In addition to containing fiber and numerous vital nutrients, legumes are also a great source of high-quality protein.. The variety of legumes available, such as black beans, white beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, red beans, chickpeas, green peas, red lentils, French lentils, and soybeans, can keep your diet both interesting and healthy. Soybeans, in particular, may help protect against diabetes-related kidney and heart disease.
Whole grains are very high in fiber, especially insoluble fiber. Certain grains, like oats and barley, are also high in soluble fiber. Since both types of fiber are helpful for people with diabetes, a good mix of whole grains is recommended. Refined grains, on the other hand, have been stripped of their nutrients and fiber and are very detrimental to diabetic patients. They can cause blood sugar levels to quickly rise to very high levels, which makes insulin levels rise rapidly as well. By replacing products made with refined flours and grains with whole grain foods, you can prevent high blood sugar spikes and improve your blood sugar control.
Fruit and vegetables contain many vital nutrients such as antioxidant vitamins like vitamin E, C, and beta-carotene, which are needed to neutralise the free radicals that can cause such havoc on a diabetics venous supply.. They also contain bioflavonoids, which exert powerful antioxidant effects in the body. Although sweet in flavor, fruits have actually been shown to have stabilising effects on blood sugar levels when consumed in small amounts at a time. Fructose, the main sugar found in fruits, does not cause blood sugar levels to rise as much as refined sugar when it is eaten in the form of portion-controlled fresh fruit. Diabetics should try to eat a wide variety of different fruits and vegetables, and to control fruit portion sizes since this will ensure a well-rounded intake of many nutrients and bioflavonoids. Note: Dried fruits and fruit juices are not good choices for diabetics. In the case of dried fruits, with the watery portion of the whole food removed, the sugar concentration is simply too high. In the case of fruit juices, too much of the whole food fiber and related nutrients have been removed, which concentrates the sugar.
Fish is a very important ingredient in the diet of diabetics as a replacement for other meats and a great source of quality, anti inflammatory fats. Fish are very high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to be most helpful in keeping the arteries at a lower risk of arteriosclerosis and heart disease. Recommended fish sources are salmon, tuna, mackerel or sardines. Omega 3 fats found in cold water fish, such as tuna, reduce the risk of becoming obese and improve the body's ability to respond to insulin. Saturated fats however appear to promote weight gain. The reason why is that he omega 3 fatty acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) stimulates the secretion of leptin, a hormone that helps regulate food intake, body weight and metabolism, and is expressed primarily by adipocytes (fat cells).
Olive oil: While fat intake in general should be kept fairly low in diabetes, using some olive oil can be beneficial. Studies have shown that meals containing olive oil have better effects on blood sugar than meals low in fat. Use olive oil to replace other oils, like corn, sunflower, or safflower oil, and other sources of fat, such as the saturated fats found in meat and dairy products, or the unhealthy trans fats found in margarines.
Cinnamon may help people with type 2 diabetes improve their ability to respond to insulin, thus normalizing their blood sugar levels.
Garlic: Cardiovascular disease is a well-known side-effect of diabetes, but garlic may provide some protection
Tomato juice may also be protective as it is an effective blood thinner in persons with type 2 diabetes,
Walnuts: A handful of walnuts each day can help lower a diabetic's diabetics disease risk. Walnuts are an especially rich source of polyunsaturated fatty acids, specifically alpha linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid highly protective against heart disease.
Fiber. Many studies have shown that a diet high in fiber has beneficial effects on diabetes. In particular, a fiber-rich meal leads to a much smaller rise in blood sugar and blood insulin levels compared to a meal low in fiber. One theory suggests fiber slows down the rate at which sugar is absorbed in the gut, so blood sugar rises more slowly, which also results in blood insulin levels rising more slowly. Fiber also seems to help cells absorb glucose more easily. Diets high in fiber are associated with a much lower risk of developing diabetes than the standard low-fiber American diet. The two main types of fiber are soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber is the kind of fiber found mostly in fruits and vegetables, legumes, and certain grains like oats and barley. Insoluble fiber is found mainly in other kinds of whole grains.
Low G.I foods. Eat foods that have what is called a low glycemic index or GI. This is a measurement of the rate at which different carbohydrate foods raise blood sugar levels, and it is important to eat those foods that are rated below 50 on this scale. These include most fruits, vegetables and pulses, porridge oats, buckwheat noodles, and wholegrain wheat bread. Ice cream and white spaghetti are both borderline at 50, sugar is 100. See the file on G.I index on this website.
Vitamin E is one of the major antioxidants in the body and it seems to be a very important nutrient for treating blood sugar problems as well as preventing some of the major long-term consequences of type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, many diabetic patients have very low levels of vitamin E because diabetes results in the production of higher than normal amounts of free radicals. It's particularly important, therefore, for persons with diabetes to get plenty of vitamin E in their diets.
Excellent and very good sources of vitamin E include: mustard greens, Swiss chard, sunflower seeds, turnip greens, almonds, kale and spinach.
Vitamin C also roams the body, eliminating damaging free radicals before they can do more harm. In addition, vitamin C helps revitalize vitamin E that has gotten worn out by destroying free radicals. However, diabetic patients also tend to have low levels of vitamin C in their bodies. If you increase your intake of vitamin E, it's very important that you also get more vitamin C, so the vitamin E can do a better job.
Excellent food sources of vitamin C include broccoli, parsley, bell peppers, strawberries, cauliflower, lemons, mustard greens, Brussels sprouts, papaya, kale, cabbage, spinach, kiwifruit, cantaloupe, oranges, grapefruit, tomatoes, chard, collard greens, raspberries, peppermint leaves, asparagus, celery, fennel bulb, pineapple, and watermelon.
Magnesium levels tend to be low in diabetic patients, especially those with kidney problems. Kidney damage causes magnesium to be flushed out in the urine, which can reduce the amount available for the many uses of magnesium in the body. Unfortunately, low levels of magnesium are associated with an increased risk for heart disease, heart attack, high blood pressure, and stroke. The good news is that increasing the intake of magnesium can help to correct these low levels, as well as increase the ability of cells to absorb and use glucose. Swiss chard and spinach are excellent sources of magnesium. Nuts and whole grains are also good to very good sources of this essential mineral.
High-fat diets are associated with an increased risk for diabetes. High-fat diets have also been linked to an increase in heart disease, which is a major concern for diabetic patients. While certain fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids and the monounsaturated fats found in olive oil, have been shown to be beneficial in diabetes, other types of fats, notably saturated fats, should be avoided.
Diabetics should greatly reduce their intake of saturated fats found in meat and dairy products; excess omega-6 fats, highest in meat, dairy products, and corn, safflower and sunflower oils; and trans fats, which are found in margarine, non-dairy creamers, and processed foods. Meals high in saturated fats have been shown to greatly raise blood insulin levels.
Trans fats can occur naturally in food, but are never found in such large amounts as occur in a process called hydrogenation. This process is used to turn liquid vegetable oil into more solid margarine. Trans fats can also be formed in oil that is heated for long periods of time, like the oil used and reused for frying french fries, onion rings, burgers and fish patties at your local fast food restaurant. Trans fats are directly linked to an increased risk for insulin resistance as well as to an increased risk for blood clots, which can lead to heart attack or stroke. Avoiding hydrogenated oils and deep fried food is a must for diabetics.
Animal protein and excess protein. Diets with excessive protein, especially animal protein, are associated with the development of type 2 diabetes and with the progression of diabetic kidney disease. Too much protein in the diet puts extra stress on the kidneys and can lead to further damage. This effect is greatest when the main sources of protein are animal products such as meats and dairy. Although animal protein in meals may help to blunt the high blood sugar spikes seen in diabetes, it has the tendency to cause great rises in blood insulin levels. Since excessive insulin may be damaging to the body, it might be best for diabetic patients to cut back on the amount of protein they get from animal sources. Meat and dairy products can be easily replaced with non-animal protein sources such as legumes, which do not cause blood insulin levels to rise so much, and which contain fiber and a variety of other important nutrients needed by diabetic patients.
Niacin is a B-vitamin often used in people with atherosclerosis to lower high cholesterol levels. Unfortunately, high intakes of this nutrient can cause high blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. These effects are only seen in people taking very high doses of niacin in supplement form and not from food sources or the amounts found in most multivitamins. Diabetic patients should therefore avoid taking high-dose niacin supplements.
Iron High levels of free iron in the body may increase the amount of free radicals and the damage they cause. Diabetic patients tend to have very high levels of iron in their bodies, which may be contributing to their problem with free radicals. Iron is found in high quantities in red meat, but the most important source is vitamin supplements. Diabetics should not take iron supplements, even iron in multivitamins, unless they have been told by their doctor that they need extra iron.
Gymnemma Sylvestra is a herb used traditionally by herbalists to alleviate and prevent the onset of type two diabetes. It seems to also have a role in repairing damage to the beta cells in the pancreas that make insulin.
Sacrid Basil is used for improving blood sugar levels as has Japanese honeysuckle, and Goats rue.
Another herb that is used is bilberry, which is more commonly used for eye problems, including cataracts, and for strengthening blood vessels. Although it is mostly the bilberry fruit that is used for those conditions, the leaves have shown potential in the treatment of diabetes.
Fenugreek seeds (Trigonella foenum graecum) is a spice found in many curry preparations, are high in fiber and have been shown to regulate glucose and improve lipid levels in both animals and humans. In two small studies of individuals with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, fenugreek seed powder lowered blood glucose and improved levels of blood cholesterol and trigylcerides, among other beneficial effects.
American ginseng (Panax quinquefolium) Although both Asian (Panax ginseng) and American (Panax quinquefolium) appear to lower blood glucose levels, only American ginseng has been studied in scientific trials. One study found that people with type 2 diabetes who take American ginseng before or together with a glucose meal experience a reduction in glucose levels after they consume the meal.
Numerous other herbs have been used traditionally to regulate glucose levels in the body. Although preliminary research is promising, more research is needed to determine whether the following herbs are safe and effective for the treatment of diabetes:
- Onion (Allium cepa)
- Garlic (Allium sativum)
- Andrographis (Andrographis paniculata)
- Green tea (Camellia sinensis)
- Indian cluster bean (Cyamopsis tetgonolobus)
- Gurmar (Gymnema sylvestre)
- Bitter melon or karela (Momordica charantia)
- Tinospora gulancha (Tinospora cordifolia)
Please see a herbalist or naturopath to help with an individualised programme when prescribing herbs to treat diabetes.
Chromium Found in a variety of foods and supplements, including liver, brewer's yeast, cheese, meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, chromium appears to enhance the body's sensitivity to insulin. Chromium is believed to help insulin pull glucose from the bloodstream into the cells for energy. The use of chromium by a diabetic should be monitered by a health proffesional.
Magnesium While several studies have demonstrated a strong association between low levels of magnesium in the blood and type 2 diabetes, researchers have yet to determine which is the cause and which is the effect. Supplementation may be useful in certain cases.
Vanadium is an essential trace mineral present in the soil and in many foods. It appears to mimic the action of insulin and, in a number of human studies, vanadyl sulfate (a form of vanadium) has increased insulin sensitivity in those with Type 2 diabetes. Animal studies and some small human studies also suggest that vanadium may lower blood glucose to normal levels (reducing the need for insulin) in diabetics.
Antioxidants such as beta-carotene and vitamin C are scavengers of free radicals—unstable and potentially damaging molecules generated by normal chemical reactions in the body. Antioxidants may improve symptoms of diabetes (by returning blood glucose levels to the normal range) and reduce the risk of associated complications: Antioxidant supplementation can incluide Vitamin E, Selenium and Zinc
Two additional substances that show preliminary evidence to possibly help control blood sugar include:
Biotin (a B-complex vitamin)—helpful for type 2 diabetes; brewer's yeast is a good source of biotin Vitamin B6—helpful for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes
Supplements with Cardiovascular Effects: Because insulin resistance is often associated with cardiovascular disease, people with diabetes may benefit from nutrients that help manage elevated blood lipid levels, high blood pressure, or congestive heart failure. Please see our information on cardiovascular health in this website