According to the most recent statistics, about one-third of the entire U.S. population, or more than 100 million Americans, suffers from either diabetes or pre-diabetes, a blood sugar condition that can eventually lead to more serious health conditions and even death. And based on U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) projections, this number is expected to double by 2050 if trends continue at current rates. But you and your family do not have to fall victim to this sweeping diabetes epidemic — here are some tips on how to alter your diet and lifestyle to avoid developing diabetes and potentially succumbing to premature death:
1) Eat more foods rich in quercetin. A member of the flavonoid family of antioxidants, quercetin has been shown to help lower blood glucose levels and improve plasma insulin levels, two factors commonly associated with diabetes (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19496084). Quercetin also helps neutralize damaging free radicals and inhibit inflammation, not to mention lower blood pressure in people with inflammation (http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/quercetin-000322.htm).
Foods that are high in quercetin include apples, citrus fruits, onions, parsley, sage, green tea, and red wine. Olive oil, grapes, dark cherries, and dark berries are also rick in quercetin and other flavonoids, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). And if dietary sources are not enough, quercetin is also available in supplement form, including in the Rejuvenate! Plus green superfood formula available at the NaturalNews store (http://store.naturalnews.com/Rejuvenate-Plus-500-g_p_95.html).
2) A teaspoon of cinnamon a day to keep the diabetes away. Cinnamon contains powerful blood sugar-stabilizing compounds that not only increase glucose metabolism by a significant amount, but also mimic the activity of insulin inside the body. Supplementing with cinnamon can also help slow the speed at which food empties from your stomach, inhibiting the blood sugar rush that often comes following a meal high in refined sugar and simple carbohydrates (http://www.huffingtonpost.com).
Most of the cinnamon you will find on grocery store shelves today comes from the “cassia” family of cinnamon, which is not necessarily the most medicinal variety. So-called “true” cinnamon, which is generally not as flavorful or as easy to find as cassia cinnamon, comes from the “Ceylon” family, and has a much lower ratio of coumarin, a blood-thinning compound, as well as higher overall nutrient content. However, all major varieties of cinnamon possess demonstrable diabetes-fighting properties (http://www.naturalnews.com/035642_cinnamon_blood_sugar_regulating.html).
3) Eat more broccoli, cruciferous vegetables. Rich in a cancer-fighting compound known as sulforaphane, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables are an important part of an anti-diabetes diet because they protect blood vessels against cellular damage. Vitamin C, chromium, fiber, beta-carotene, and many other nutrients found in broccoli help protect against free radical damage, high blood sugar, and high levels of low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, cholesterol, all of which are linked to diabetes (http://www.nhs.uk/news/2008/08August/Pages/Broccolianddiabetes.aspx).
4) Exercise more, and cut out the junk food. This one might be a little more obvious, but simply engaging in physical activity regularly can have a huge impact on whether or not your body succumbs to a diabetic condition. Since obesity and poor physical health are major factors in diabetes, it only makes sense that exercising and eating right are important components for staying fit and maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. It is best to start with shorter, higher-intensity workouts to get your metabolism going and lower insulin and leptin resistance, and gradually add in appropriate cardiovascular workouts.
As far as diet is concerned, it is best to avoid wheat and gluten-containing foods as these have been shown to interfere with glucose metabolism. Foods that contain ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), enriched flour, hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors, preservatives, food colorings, and genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) should also be avoided if you are serious about preventing diabetes. Stick with whole, organic foods; limit consumption of grains, including whole grains; and consume healthy fats, including saturated fats from unrefined coconut oil and grass-fed butter and pastured meat for optimal health (http://www.charlespoliquin.com).
5) Make sure you are getting plenty of magnesium and probiotics. More than 75 percent of the American population is said to be deficient in magnesium, a mineral your body needs to activate more than 300 unique and necessary biochemical reactions. Your bones, cells, organs, and tissues all rely on magnesium to function properly. Without enough magnesium, your immunity, skeletal system, heart, and circulatory system are all at serious risk. Making sure you intake high amounts of magnesium is crucial for protecting against hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes (http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/).
Similarly, probiotic bacteria, which populate the gut and regulate the immune system, are essential for thwarting the onset of diabetes. A study published earlier this year found that altering the microbiota balance of obese patients at high risk of diabetes can help reverse the metabolic effects linked to diabetes (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22798958).
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LEADING ECONOMISTS were told at the weekend about a study that details a separate tax for saturated fat, added sugar and salt, and concludes that a levy on all three could generate €188 million a year for the exchequer.
Authors Maria Murray of Trinity College Dublin and Micheál Collins of the Nevin Economic Research Institute told the gathering including economists attached to government departments that the direct effect on consumers would be quite small. But it could lead suppliers to reduce fat and added sugar and salt in products.
The cash generated could be used for health promotion campaigns. The economists’ warning to Government was: “There will be no effect other than revenue unless you spend the revenue on generating change.”
The tax on saturated fat would cost consumers an average of 93 cent a week, while added sugar would add €1.10 a week to weekly shopping costs. And the levy for added salt would be a humble 15 cent a week.
A tax on saturated fat alone could generate €79.91 million, while taxing added sugar could be worth up to €95.1 million with a salt tax yielding €13.08 million. For individual consumers it would mean a 5 cent increase on a pack of butter, 3 cent on a half kilo of cheddar cheese, 3 cent on a chocolate bar and 5 cent on a two-litre bottle of cola.
Such a tax would follow the example already set by New York state, which introduced a levy on saturated fat, Ms Murray told the Dublin Economics Workshop conference in Galway. Denmark last year imposed a tax on products with more than 2.3 per cent saturated fat. Hungary has introduced a salt levy, she said.
Ibec’s Food and Drink Industry Ireland group last week spoke out against a fat tax when it met the Oireachtas health committee. The group said it was a simplistic solution that would have little impact on diet.
However, Ms Murray said Minister for Health Dr James Reilly had signalled his interest in introducing such a tax in December’s budget, since 61 per cent of Irish adults are overweight or obese and 20 per cent of children likewise. Some 2,000 premature deaths occur annually, costing the State €4 billion a year. Figures from 2003 show in-patient hospital costs for obesity-related illnesses were €30 million.
It would not be a complicated tax, Mr Collins assured a Department of the Taoiseach representative who expressed concern about the burden applying the levy would impose on business: “Either you have saturated fat or you don’t. If you do it is taxed at one level or another level.”