This week, my dad has been visiting and of course, he has inspired the following blog post topic.
Disclaimer: I have asked Dad permission to write about this.
Dad has recently been given medication for Type II diabetes and high blood pressure. So as he’s telling me this, I know that just a few months back he was considered pre-diabetic and knew that his blood pressure fluctuated, So of course I ask the question; were you given a referral to see a dietician or other health care practitioner, or were any recommendations given to you about how you could help yourself manage these conditions before you were given a script for medication.
The answer was no.
So of course, I’d like to help him and others in the same situation who aren’t sure whether there is anything they can do before going on medications for the rest of their lives.
Today I’m writing about Type II diabetes and what we can do to help manage our blood sugars and prevent it from getting out of control and causing further health issues.
So what can you do about it? Lets start with Dietary Recommendations to assist in managing blood glucose levels:
• Eat regular, smaller portioned meals
• Portion control: Take control of your portions, as tasty as food is, if you can help to reduce oversized food portions, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favour.
Examples of 1 Serve =
Meat- 85-150g (raw)
Beans, legumes, grains- 1/2 cup
Nut butter: 2 tablespoons
Yoghurt- 1 cup
Vegetables- 1/2-1 cup raw depending on type
Oils- 1 Tbsp.
• Including a quality protein source in every meal with or without a good quality source of fats. Carbohydrates on their own are known to increase the blood sugar spike, and we can assist in down regulating this by including protein and or fat with the carbohydrate source. See foods to include table below.
• Fish/ seafood
• Beans, pulses/legumes (soak always before cooking)
• Chia seeds
• Hemp seeds
• Sunflower seeds • Beans and legumes (soaked before cooking)
• Wholegrains: brown rice, millet, buckwheat, corn, amaranth, gluten containing grains: wheat, rye, barley, spelt, oats, semolina
• Coconut oil
• Nuts and seeds
• Olive oil
• Macadamia oil
• Aim to choose Low GI options: Glycaemic idex is way of scoring foods effect on blood sugar levels. The lower the Glycaemix index score- the slower, the rise in blood sugar.
The following list of GI foods was taken from Hechtman, 2014, pp. 1094. (Clinical Naturopathic Medicine).
- Most fruits and vegetables
- Wholegrains (unrefined)
- Soy products
- Basmati rice
- Chocolate bars
- White and wholemeal bread
- White rice
- Wheat- bix
- Brown rice
- Boiled potato
- Rice pastas
- Rice bubbles
- Cooked carrots
• Reduce your intake of processed foods- the more refined and processed, generally the higher the GI is expected to be.
• The ripeness of the fruit- just ripe is ok, the more over ripe- the higher GI.
• Low GI does not necessarily mean that the food is considered healthy, aim to stick to healthier options.
• Avoid or significantly reduce alcohol
• Avoid deep fried foods and trans fats
• Avoid soft drink- even the diet types- swap for soda water with fresh lemon or lime.
• Include lean protein in every meal (vegetarian and meat options)
• Include lots of fresh fruit and vegetables
• Specific nutrients to include in the diet are foods high in chromium, magnesium, zinc, B-vitamins and vitamin C. e.g. poultry, fish, lean meat, eggs, fruit, vegetables, dark green leafy vegetables, wholegrains and dairy.
• Exercise- Regular exercise helps to improve insulin sensitivity and manage blood glucose.
• Ideal body weight: If obese or overweight, aim to lose weight steadily and healthily- you may need advice from exercise professionals, nutritionists and or dieticians.
• Smoking, drugs and alcohol should be avoided due to their overall ill health effects.
• Stress Management: elevated cortisol levels have a direct effect on blood glucose levels. Exercise, meditation, daily journaling, sunshine, counselling and relaxation can help to reduce cortisol levels.
• Monitor your blood glucose yourself- educate yourself and see for yourself which meals and foods don’t do your blood glucose levels any favours and which ones are ok.
This advice is the general dietary and lifestyle recommendations when aiming to manage type II diabetes Mellitus. There are specific nutritional supplements and herbal medicines that can be used to assist and your naturopath, nutritionist and or herbalist can help with these, if you require further support. Nutritional and herbal medicines aim to assist the body to better manage blood glucose levels and can drastically help. It’s so important that we do what we can to better support our health before allowing it to progress and worsen. My advice would be to not try and do it all at once, start small and choose 1 thing you can start avoiding or reducing and 1 thing yo can start including. For example; Taking out soft drink and adding in exercise. Trying to do it all at once can be overwhelming and unfortunately near impossible to stick to, but if you can manage 1-2 changes every 2-4 weeks you will get there!