Just as Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, said a long time ago, “Let food be thy medicine.” For those with diabetes, this is especially true.
- Start each day by eating breakfast, but watch out for the all-too-common trap of having dessert (donuts, pastries, muffins, waffles, sugary cereals, etc.) for breakfast. Learn about the glycemic index and use it to help guide your choices. Remove processed sugars and other refined carbohydrates from your diet.
- Eating a high-fiber, high-complex carbohydrate diet, rich in legumes, vegetables and other low glycemic index foods, will frequently yield improved sugar control. Note, however, that this diet is not right for everyone: This diet, which tends to be high in potassium-rich foods, is contraindicated in those with advanced kidney disease or those with blood elevations of potassium. It might also cause changes to levels of certain medications and should always be discussed with your doctor before starting.
- Multiple trace minerals play roles in blood sugar regulation. Talk to your doctor about starting a high-quality multi-vitamin/multi-mineral to supplement your healthy dietary and activity choices. Ask your provider to guide you toward a supplement that contains optimized forms of these necessary nutrients. Not all multivitamins are created equal, and supplements are never “one size fits all”.
- Whole grains, wheat germ, bran cereal, romaine lettuce, raw onions, broccoli, green beans and black pepper can provide a rich source of chromium, which helps to stabilize blood sugar. Use caution and seek further guidance before starting a chromium supplement, however, since high doses may actually worsen insulin sensitivity.
- Many diabetics have been found to have diminished uptake of Vitamin C into their cells. This may negatively influence immune function, as well as the health of your blood vessels and ability to heal wounds. Look for low-sugar foods that are rich in Vitamin C, like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, parsley and peppers.
- Check your Vitamin D level. Some diabetics with low or borderline serum levels may see improvements in their neuropathy pain when they are supplemented.
Optimize your digestive health and keep your microbiome happy, since not only are you “what you eat,” but in actuality, “you are what you absorb.”
Remember to always consult with a health professional to ensure these recommendations are appropriate for you. As with all interventions, implementation should be mindful and informed.
Daila Pravs, M.D., is a physician at Montgomery Integrative Health Group, in Wyndmoor. She will be speaking on the topic of nutrition at the November 7 Delaware Valley Functional Forum Meetup, in Willow Grove. For more information, call 215-233-6226 or visit MontHealth.com. November 2017