A few effective home remedies for diabetes and the ways to reduce its severity and complications… Instead of pumping the body with synthetic chemicals, do try a structured diabetic diet, natural supplements and also increase the physical activity. Regain your health and reverse diabetes the natural way. Read on…
1 :: Cinnamon
Polyphenolics, a chemical product present in the bark of cinnamon trees is responsible to treat a variety of diseases including diabetes.
- It increases insulin sensitivity by increasing expression of alpha and gamma receptors.
- Cinnamon increases glucose entry into the cells by enhancing insulin receptor phosphorylation.
- It inhibits action of pancreatic amylase and intestinal sucrose- enzymes responsible for digestion and absorption of sugar.
Half a gram of cinnamon powder twice (One gram in total, everyday) daily for 12 weeks reduces fasting blood sugar and glycosylated Hb in poorly controlled type2 diabetes patients. (Glycated hemoglobin is a form of hemoglobin that is measured primarily to identify three-month average plasma glucose concentration)
Cinnamon possesses antioxidant properties as well. It increases level of antioxidants like glutathione and superoxide dismutase and reduces level of malondialdehyde (MDA)- an estimate of oxidative damage; free radicals in the body.
2 :: Blueberry
Blueberry is used to lower blood pressure, lipid oxidation, improve insulin resistance, improve diabetes & its complications and aids digestion.
Phenolics compounds such as anthocyanins are the active and effective compounds present in Blueberry for diabetes and insulin resistance.
According to a study published in the journal of nutrition 2010, consuming 22.5 g of blueberry, twice daily for 6 weeks can improve insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes patients.
3 :: Black plum or Jamun
Jamun was the frontline anti-diabetic medication used before the discovery of insulin. Every part of jamun plant such as leaves, fruit and seeds are reported to have anti-diabetic properties.
Jamun contains anthocynins, glucoside, ellagic acid, raffinose etc, all of which have glucose-lowering ability.
- Jamun increases insulin secretion form pancreas and inhibits its degradation.
- It inhibits activity of alpha –glycosidase-enzyme used to convert starch into glucose.
- It is reported to reduce blood pressure and lipid composition – common complications of diabetes.
4 :: Fenugreek (Methi)
Seeds of fenugreek have been used in inducing labor, aiding digestion and improving metabolism. The glucose-lowering action of fenugreek is because of the presence of compounds like Diosgenin, galactomannan and trigoneosides.
- Fenugreek helps to reduce insulin resistance by reducing adipocyte differentiation and inflammation.
- A clinical study suggested that extracts of fenugreek seeds exerts hypoglycemic control via increasing insulin sensitivity.
Adjunct use of fenugreek seeds can considerably reduce blood sugar and decrease insulin resistance, reduce bad cholesterols and improve good cholesterol in mild-moderate type 2 diabetes patients, as suggested by a study published in the journal of the association of physicians of India, 2001.
5 :: Bitter Gourd (Karela)
Bioactive substances present in bitter gourd like vicine, charantin and triterpenoids possess anti-diabetic, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and cholesterol lowering properties.
- Inhibits intestinal glucose uptake.
- Improves signaling and sensitivity of insulin.
- It stimulates utilization of glucose in peripheral and skeletal muscles.
- Preserves pancreatic beta cells and thereby stimulates insulin production.
- Inhibits fat deposition (risk factor for diabetes) and fats metabolism.
- Suppresses key enzymes used in glucose metabolism, hence prevents excessive glucose production.
A study conducted on Taiwanese adults found that, bitter gourd consumption can significantly reduce waist circumference, improve diabetes and other symptoms of metabolic disorder (Nutrition journal 2012).
6 :: Holy Basil
Eugenol, the active component of Basil stimulates the physiological pathways of insulin secretion.
- It reduces serum level of cortisol.
- It improves action of exogenous insulin.
- It reduces blood glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL levels.
- It ameliorates derangements in fats metabolism caused by diabetes.
- Holy basil has anti-diabetic, cardio protective, antimicrobial, antifungal, anti-stress, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
7 :: Turmeric
Turmeric is commonly used herb in food and medicine because of its anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and immunomodulatory responses.
- Turmerin, an antioxidant protein in turmeric inhibits absorption of glucose form the intestines.
- Curmurin, the active compound in turmeric, prevents diabetes by regulating insulin sensitivity and pancreatic cells function.
8 :: Ginger
Ginger is the commonly used ingredient in food and medicine. One clinical study has shown that consuming ginger powder, 3g/day for 30 days can significantly reduce blood glucose and lipid levels in type2 diabetes patients (plant foods for human nutrition 2003). Gingerol and Shogaol are the active compounds of ginger that reduces blood sugar by…
- Protecting pancreatic beta cells from degradation.
- Increasing insulin receptor signaling.
- Elevating glucose uptake in response to insulin by muscles and fat cells.
9 :: Soybeans
Soy proteins and isoflavonoids in soybeans have been reported to improve insulin resistance and enhance insulin release.
- It preserves pancreatic cells by increasing cell count, proliferation and survival.
- It improves complications of diabetes such as blood vessel dysfunction and wound healing.
10 :: Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera can reduce high blood sugar and cholesterol in diabetic patients. The active compound in Aloe vera is aloeresin, which exerts anti-diabetic actions via inhibition of glucose absorption from intestines and insulin resistance. Aloe Vera is considered to be one of the most effective home remedies for Diabetes.
11 :: Okra
AKA ladies’ finger contains chemical compounds such as polyphenolic molecules that reduce blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity.
A study published in journal of pharmacy and bio allied sciences 2011, reported that okra seeds and peel power have anti diabetic and anti hyperlipidemia properties.
12 :: Garlic
According to Ayurveda, garlic is a miraculous plant that can be used for variety of problems such as intestinal worms, headaches, indigestion, insect bites and tumors besides its effectiveness as a home remedies for Diabetes.
Organosulphur compounds are the principle bioactive compounds in garlic.
- It increases insulin secretion form pancreas.
- It can prevent cardiovascular complications induced by diabetes.
- Phytochemicals present in garlic possesses anti oxidative properties.
- Garlic reduces blood glucose by increasing its usage in muscles and fat cells.
13 :: Neem
Neem can significantly reduce blood sugar and prevent adrenaline induced high blood sugar.
- It reduces dependency on anti-diabetic drugs.
- Quercetin, the flavanoid present in neem reduces hyperglycemia.
- It increases glucose utilization by blocking action of epinephrine on glucose metabolism.
14 :: High fiber Diet
US dietary guidelines recommend consuming 20-30 g of Fiber/day. A 2015 study conducted by researchers at imperial college London, has reported that people who consume fiber more than 26 g/day had 18% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those taking less than 19 g/day. Fiber benefits diabetes by
- Altering hormonal signals.
- Promoting feeling of satiety.
- Slowing nutrient absorption in large intestine.
- It is associated with weight loss, in turn, reduces diabetes risk.
- Being low in glycemic index, it inhibits sudden glucose spike post meals.
- Certain fibers like inulin are prebiotics, which by modifying gut micro flora or reducing oxidative stress, show promising results for type 2 diabetes.
A diet in high fibre content is one of the easiest, safest and most effective home remedies for diabetes.
15 :: Fruits
Limit high sugar fruits, especially dried fruits as they generally have concentrated sugars. Consider high fiber berries, citrus fruits, pear, papaya and apples.
16 :: Vegetables
Vegetables such as sweet potato, pumpkin, squash and carrots are loaded with fiber and relatively low calories. Cooked collards, spinach, artichokes and kale are good sources of high fiber food as well as lutein (carotenoid), that prevents from eye complications caused by diabetes. Seasonal vegetables are the simplest, safest and most effective home remedies for diabetes.
17 :: Whole grains
Whole-wheat breads, quinoa, oats, brown rice and barley are appropriate for diabetic diets. Avoid ready-to-eat cereals or other processed food as they have too many simple sugars and low fiber content.
18 :: Legumes
Cooked peas, lentils, dry beans, black, kidney and lima beans are legumes recommended for diabetics. According to USDA split peas and lentils gives 16g of fiber in 1 cup whereas kidney, pinto, garbanzo and lima beans gives 10 g per cup.
19 :: Flax Seeds
Flex seeds are rich in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, proteins and lignans that act as antioxidant when ingested. It improves insulin sensitivity in glucose intolerant people.
The evidence for flaxseeds as an adjunct in diabetes treatment remains mixed. However, a 2011 study in journal of dietary supplements found that supplementation of flax seeds for 1 month reduces blood sugar by 19 %, cholesterol by 14.3%, triglycerides by 17.5%, LDL by 21.8%.
20 :: Litchi
Litchi exhibits anti-diabetic activity by reducing insulin resistance. Oligonol, the active compound in litchi showed anti-oxidative activity, that protects liver and kidney complications in diabetics.
21 :: Curry leaves
A 2007 study in chemico-biological interactions recommends that minerals such as iron, zinc and copper in curry leaves are important in maintain normal glucose levels by activating pancreatic cells.
- It prevents premature degradation of pancreatic cells.
- It restores liver and kidney enzymes helpful for the breakdown of carbohydrates.
22 :: Nuts
Nuts are by far the healthiest food choice for diabetics.
Most nuts have one or more substances that are beneficial for heart i.e. unsaturated fats, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, L-arginine and sterols.
In a Canadian study published in Diabetes Care in 2011, researchers found that people with type-2 diabetes had increased energy, lower blood sugar and reduced level of LDL (bad cholesterol) after consuming 2 ounces of mixed nuts daily.
- Almonds (6 nuts): It decreases post meal glucose spike (journal of nutrition 2006).
- Walnuts (2 nuts): Improves cholesterol profile, reduces risk of heart diseases and reduces blood sugar (diabetes care 2004)
- Cashews (6 nuts): Cashews contain lower fats than other nuts. It contains oleic acid-heart friendly monounsaturated fat. It reduces blood fat, reduces blood sugar levels (journal of herbal pharmacotherapy 2005)
- Pistachios (12 nuts): Pistachios reduce insulin resistance, increases glucagon-like peptide 1, which is a hormone needed to control blood sugar (diabetes care 2014)
23 :: Quinoa
What makes it popular is not about its protein content (1/3rd cup gives 3 grams), but its protein composition. Q
uinoa has all nine essential amino acids, which makes it a complete protein in itself. It is also rich in magnesium, folate, manganese, fiber, iron and vitamin B6. Like other high fiber foods, it provides satiety and prevents blood glucose spikes. Quinoa is one of the safest home remedies for diabetes.
24 :: Kale
A ½ cup of this green leafy and non-starchy vegetable gives only 18 calories and 4 grams of carbohydrates. It contains most of essential nutrients, from vitamin A to Zinc. A 2014 meta-analysis of several studies, suggested that people who consume more green leafy vegetables were 14% less likely to develop diabetes than those consuming the lesser amounts (British medical journal).
Kale contains two pigments, lutein and zeaxanthin, which are beneficial to prevent eye complications caused by diabetes. These pigments also appear to be protective against cataracts.
25 :: Avocados
Avocados are popular because of the presence of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat content. According to Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, avocados reduce cholesterol level and lowers risk of heart ailments.
Women who eat the large amount of good fats i.e. unsaturated vegetable fats, as present in avocados were 25% less likely to develop diabetes than those consuming lesser amount (American journal of clinical nutrition 2008)
1/4th of a medium size avocado contains 4 grams of healthy fats, 2 grams of fiber and just 2 grams of carbohydrates, that make avocado an excellent choice for diabetics.
26 :: Asparagus
One serving of this non-starchy vegetable gives only 5 grams of carbohydrate, 20 calories and about 2 grams of fiber. Glutathione, an antioxidant present in asparagus helps in delaying effects of aging and many diseases that include diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
According to a study published in British journal of nutrition in 2012, asparagus can keep blood glucose in check by increasing insulin production form pancreatic cells.
Further, Asparagus is rich in folate. According to American heart association, including foods rich in folate and other B vitamins can significantly reduces homocysteine levels, which is a risk factor for heart diseases.
27 :: Yogurt
Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, vitamin B2 and protein. It is also a source of vitamin D and magnesium. It contains health-promoting bacteria beneficial for optimal gut health.
People who consume at least 55 grams of yogurt/day were 12 % less likely to develop diabetes than others. The researchers attributed this effect to probiotic bacteria in yogurt, which can lower cholesterol level – a risk factor for diabetes. Researchers suggested that vitamin D, calcium and magnesium present in yogurt could play a role too (the American journal of clinical nutrition 2012).
28 :: Olive Oil
According to International Olive Council, olive oil can help not only in treating diabetes but also in preventing or delaying onset of the disease.
- Improves HDL levels.
- Lowers blood pressure.
- Reduces triglycerides levels.
- It prevents insulin resistance.
- Ensures better glucose control.
29 :: Exercise
Exercising remains an important component in diabetic management besides effective meal plan and medications. Exercising and correct Breathing are two of the most effective home remedies for Diabetes.
- It keeps your heart healthy and strong.
- Promotes better sleep and ameliorates stress.
- It prevents long-term diabetic complications.
- Reduces bad cholesterol and maintains good cholesterol.
- It increases effectiveness of insulin in insulin resistant individuals.
- It reduces blood glucose levels – muscles use glucose without insulin when you are exercising.
This is not an exhaustive research on effective home remedies for diabetes. I will continue to add more home remedies as and when I can.
All said and done, the best and most effect home remedy for diabetes, to me, is regular exercises (whatever the body allows), balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. Please consult a related health care professional to know about diabetes and ways to manage and control it, effectively and naturally, wherever possible.