Diabetes (diabetes mellitus) is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced.
High blood sugar (hyperglycaemia) produces the classical symptoms of polyuria (frequent urination), polydipsia (increased thirst) and polyphagia (increased hunger).
Some oral medications can cause hypoglycaemia (low blood sugars), which can be dangerous if severe.
The following are the different types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes: Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus or juvenile diabetes. This results from the body's failure to produce insulin. Diabetes type 1 can develop at any time in life but generally appears in childhood and before the age of 40. Diabetes type 1 is caused by the immune system attacking and destroying the beta cells that create insulin which is the hormone required to keep blood sugar levels under control. The unique antibodies that people with diabetes type 1 make target five protein compounds in the body.
Diabetes type 1 is impossible to treat naturally but scientists are hoping that by learning why the immune system develops the antibodies that attack these particular proteins, they may be able to find a way to stop it occurring. Pancreas transplants have been tried with limited success in type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes: Non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus or adult-onset diabetes. This results from insulin resistance, a condition in which cells fail to use insulin properly, sometimes combined with an absolute insulin deficiency. Type 2 diabetes is usually down to poor dietary choices and weight gain and can be treated
naturally. Controlling diabetes is important and this includes controlling the blood pressure, stopping smoking and maintaining a healthy body weight. Gastric bypass surgery has been successful in many with morbid obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Monogenic diabetes: This is rarer than type 1 or type 2 diabetes but represents about 1-3% of all diabetes cases. It is caused by a mutation (error) in any one of over 20 different genes. Some forms appear in children under 1 year of age (neonatal diabetes), while other forms (MODY) are more common in adolescents and young adults, but can appear at any age. All forms of monogenic diabetes are often misdiagnosed as type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes: Occurs when pregnant women without a previous diagnosis of diabetes develops high blood glucose levels which may precede development of type 2 diabetes. However, it is usually resolved after delivery.
Congenital diabetes: this is due to genetic defects of insulin secretion.
Cystic fibrosis-related diabetes: This is the most common comorbidity in people with cystic fibrosis, occurring in 20% of adolescents and 40–50% of adults. While it shares features of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, it is a distinct clinical entity. It is primarily caused by insulin insufficiency, although fluctuating levels of insulin resistance related to acute and chronic illness also play a role.
Steroid diabetes: This is induced by high doses of glucocorticoids. High blood sugar leading to diabetes can be caused by inhalers which contain steroids.
The high rise in cases of Type 2 diabetes could be due to many causes but contributory factors are:
A diet high in coffee, fizzy drinks, salt, sugar and animal fats.
Being overweight or obese.
Deficiency of fibre, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.
Excess of low nutrient processed foods.
Hormones and antibiotics fed to farmed animals.
Lack of magnesium and other minerals in the soil due to modern farming techniques. People with diabetes are often low in magnesium.
Toxicity of the system due to food additives or fungicide, herbicide and pesticide residues on foods.
As well as being the substance that stores carbohydrates in the body's cells, insulin is an anabolic hormone which the body uses to build muscle and store protein.
Insulin and magnesium
Insulin also stores magnesium and if the cells become resistant to insulin, the body cannot store magnesium so it is lost through urination. Intracellular magnesium relaxes muscles and therefore, if the cell becomes insulin resistant and the body loses magnesium, the blood vessels constrict. This causes an increase in blood pressure and a reduction in energy since intracellular magnesium is required for all energy producing reactions that take place in the cell.
NOTE: Athletes and anyone that partakes in intense physical activities are often lacking in magnesium as they perspire profusely but do not replace lost minerals so they should consume plenty of these magnesium-rich foods.
Highest sources of magnesium in milligrams per 100 grams
Rice bran 781 mg
Basil, coriander, dill and sage 694 mg
Hemp seeds 640 mg
Pumpkin and squash seeds 535 mg
Raw cocoa 499 mg
Flaxseeds 392 mg
Brazil nuts 376 mg
Sesame seeds 353 mg
Sunflower seeds 346 mg
Chia seeds 335 mg
Chlorella 315 mg
Wheat germ 313 mg
Cashew nuts 292 mg
Almonds 268 mg
Caraway seeds 258 mg
Black strap molasses and dulse 242 mg
Buckwheat 231 mg
Spirulina 189 mg
Oats 177 mg
Durum wheat 144 mg
Macadamia nuts 130 mg
Adzuki beans 127 mg
Kelp 121 mg
Millet 114 mg
Kale 88 mg
Amaranth 65 mg
Globe artichoke 60 mg
Okra and nettles 57 mg
Chestnuts 54 mg
Rocket 47 mg
Dates 43 mg
Plantain 37 mg
Lentils 36 mg
Butternut squash 34 mg
Coconut 32 mg
Potatoes with skin 30 mg
Passion fruit 29 mg
Savoy cabbage, halibut 28 mg
Bananas, rabbit 27 mg
Bread fruit, green beans 25 mg
Peas 24 mg
Raspberries 22 mg
Guava 22 mg
Blackberries 20 mg
Courgettes 18 mg
Kiwi fruit, fennel, figs 17 mg
Endive 15 mg
Cucumber, lettuce 13 mg
Magnesium is also necessary for the action of insulin and the manufacture of insulin. When insulin levels are raised, the body loses magnesium, and the cells become even more insulin resistant. Blood vessels constrict and glucose and insulin can not get to the tissues, which make them more insulin resistant, so the insulin levels go up and the body loses even more magnesium. This is the vicious cycle that begins even before birth.
Insulin sensitivity starts to be determined the moment the sperm combines with the egg. If a pregnant woman eats a high-carbohydrate diet, which turns into sugar, studies have shown that the foetus will become more insulin resistant. If that foetus happens to be a female, the eggs of that foetus are more insulin resistant. This does not mean that diabetes is a genetic disease but an individual can have a genetic predisposition.
After consuming excess sugar, high levels of insulin are released into the blood and, because insulin also causes the retention of sodium, this causes the retention of fluid, which also causes high blood pressure which can then led to congestive heart failure. Because the immediate effects of raising the blood sugar from a high-carbohydrate meal is a raise in insulin and this immediately triggers the sympathetic nervous system, it can cause arterial spasm or a constriction of the arteries. Heart attacks are two to three times more likely to happen after a high-carbohydrate meal.
Excess insulin and cancer
Insulin is also known as a 'mitogenic hormone' because it stimulates cell proliferation and cell division. Because insulin causes endothelium cell proliferation, excess can cause an endothelial tumour to develop. The endothelium is the thin layer of simple squamous cells that lines the interior surface of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels. Squamous (from Latin squama, "scale") describes the flat scale-like cells in the body. Excess insulin levels also can lead to breast and colon cancer.
Excess insulin and the heart
Cells become insulin resistant because they are trying to protect themselves from the toxic effects of high insulin. They down regulate their receptor activity and reduce the number of insulin receptors. This raises the level of insulin in the blood even further. Because insulin also mediates blood lipids, high levels of insulin then raise levels of triglycerides. LDL cholesterol is also raised by high levels of insulin.
Some cells are incapable of becoming very insulin resistant. The liver cells becomes resistant first, then the muscle tissue then the fat. Sugar is stored as fat and therefore, until fat cells become insulin resistant to insulin fat weight will increase. The lining of the arteries does not become insulin resistant very easily and can become completely clogged by plaque within three months of excessive insulin levels.
Insulin also causes the blood to clot too readily and causes the conversion of macrophages into foam cells, which are the cells that accumulate the fatty deposits.
It also influences nitric oxide synthase, meaning that the endothelium produces less nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps helps to mediate vasodilatation and constriction and a lack of it can lead to angina.
Lectin and leptin resistance
The lectin from ingested wheat often ends up circulating in the body and in the brain, where it can cause leptin-resistance which causes effects similar to insulin-resistance. Those two factors could be a cause or promoter of obesity as leptin and insulin are the two most important hormones to properly regulate in order to maintain a normal weight and energy balance.
Leptin is a hormone that is produced by the body’s fat cells and is often referred to as the “satiety hormone” or the “starvation hormone.” The level of leptin in the blood, that reaches the hypothalamus in the brain, indicates to the brain the level of fat stored and available energy and, when there is enough fat stored, there is no need to eat and that calories can be burned at the normal rate. It also has many other functions related to fertility, immunity, brain function and others.
When the brain does not receive the leptin signal it believes that the body is starving even though it has more than enough energy stored. This makes the brain change the physiology and behaviour in order to regain the fat that the brain believes is missing.
Most people try to exert cognitive inhibition (willpower) over the leptin-driven starvation signal but this is often futile as the hormone signal telling the brain that the body is starving and must eat and conserve energy by becoming sluggish is far stronger than a person’s determination not to eat and to exercise more.
A sign of leptin-resistance is a large amount of body fat particularly around the waistline. Reads more about Lectins.
Extreme unexplained fatigue
Frequent skin, bladder or gum infections
Slow wound healing
Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
In some cases of type 2 diabetes, there are no symptoms. In this case, people can live for months, even years, without knowing they have the disease. This form of diabetes comes on so gradually that symptoms may not even be recognized.
Diabetes and illness
During an illness or infection the body will release extra glucose into the blood stream in a bid to help combat the illness. In people without diabetes, this is an effective strategy as their pancreas will release extra insulin to cope with the extra blood glucose. High blood glucose levels can lead to dehydration so fluids must be drunk regularly. Pineapple juice can help the body to stay hydrated.
It may be tempting to not eat whilst unwell but this could lead to more ketones as the body may need to break down fat to make fuel. If eating is difficult, it is advisable to have drinks containing carbohydrate instead of meals. The presence of high levels of ketones in the bloodstream is a common complication of diabetes, which if left untreated can lead to ketoacidosis.
Ketone bodies are three water-soluble compounds that are produced as by-products when fatty acids are broken down for energy in the liver. Two of the three are used as a source of energy in the heart and brain while the third (acetone) is a waste product excreted from the body. In the brain, they are a vital source of energy during fasting. Although termed "bodies", they are dissolved substances, not particles.
Ketones build up when there is insufficient insulin to help fuel the body’s cells. High levels of ketones are therefore more common in people with type 1 diabetes or people with advanced type 2 diabetes.
Neuropathic arthropathy (neuropathic osteoarthropathy), also known as Charcot joint, refers to progressive degeneration of a weight bearing joint, a process marked by bony destruction, bone re-absorption and eventual deformity. If this process continues unchecked, it can result in joint deformity, ulceration and/or a major infection, loss of function and in the worst case scenario, amputation or death. Early identification of joint changes is vital and any ulcers need immediate medical attention.
This is a condition where the diabetic patient deliberately skips their injections of insulin in order to lose weight. This can have serious consequences such as irreversible visionary deterioration and diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) which can be fatal.
A condition in which the stomach empties its contents too slowly; this problem can affect people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The vagus nerve, which controls stomach emptying, can become damaged with diabetes and this leads to the problems with digestion. The symptoms of gastroparesis include heartburn, vomiting, weight loss, poor glucose control and feelings of early fullness. Over time, an infection or a blockage of the stomach called a bezoar may develop. Some foods can worsen gastroparesis.
Bezoar is a hard indigestible mass of material, such as hair, vegetable fibres or the seeds and skins of fruits, formed in the alimentary canal
Chew food well especially meat, fruit and vegetables. Eat small meals six times a day. In order to get some relief from the condition, you should try rapidly exhaling and pushing the diaphragm inside while exhaling. The inhalation process should be normal. Repeat these exhalations for about 10 minutes every day on an empty stomach in order to improve the vagus nerve function.
This is a condition in which an excessive amount of glucose circulates in the blood plasma. Glucose levels are measured in either: Milligrams per decilitre (mg/dl), in the United States and other countries (e.g., Japan, France, Egypt, Colombia); or Millimoles per litre (mmol/l) in the UK, which can be acquired by dividing (mg/dl) by factor of 18.
Hyperglycaemia is generally when the blood glucose level is 10+ mmol/l (180 mg/dl). Symptoms may not start to become noticeable until later numbers such as 15-20+ mmol/l (270-360 mg/dl) or 15.2-32.6 mmol/l are reached. However, continuous levels exceeding 7 mmol/l (125 mg/dl) can produce organ damage.
Glucose levels vary before and after meals, and at various times of day; the definition of "normal" varies among medical professionals. In general, the normal range for most people (fasting adults) is about 4 to 6 mmol/l (80 to 110 mg/dl).
A subject with a consistent range above 7 mmol/l (126 mg/dl) or is generally held to have hyperglycaemia, whereas a consistent range below 4 mmol/l (70 mg/dl) is considered hypoglycaemic.
In fasting adults, blood plasma glucose should not exceed 7 mmol/l (125 mg/dl). Sustained higher levels of blood sugar cause damage to the blood vessels and to the organs they supply, leading to the complications of diabetes.
The following effects of hyperglycaemia can be resolved upon a return to good metabolic control, including proper nutrition and stabilised blood sugars.
This condition can be fatal. Every episode of DKA is life-threatening, or at the very least, it is a significant cause of damage that will lead to future complications.
Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis
Inability to wear contact lenses because eyes are dry from dehydration.
Increased appetite which is due to the body believing it is being starved, combined with decreased sensation of fullness. Both are a result of a lack of insulin. Insulin is a satiety hormone, which means it helps regulate intake by providing a signal to the body when it has had enough.
Increased urine production/volume.
Insomnia, or conversely, excessive sleepiness.
Mental confusion (brain fog) and inability to focus.
Nausea/abdominal pain, vomiting.
Negative mood, including depression, anxiety, irritability and general lack of motivation.
Poor wound healing
Hyperglycaemic hyperosmolar non-ketotic coma
This is a very dangerous condition brought on by very high blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetes (above 33 mmol/L). It is a short term complication requiring immediate hospital treatment.
Low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycaemia, can be a dangerous condition. It means the sugar level in the blood has fallen below 2.5mmol/l. Insulin is normally produced in the pancreas and helps the cells in the body absorb glucose from the blood. Normally, the glucose level rises after a meal. Too much insulin in the blood and some diseases can cause hypoglycaemic episodes (also known as 'hypos').
Low blood sugar can happen in people with diabetes who take medicines that increase insulin levels in the body. Taking too much medication, skipping meals, eating less than normal or exercising more than usual can lead to low blood sugar.
This is why it is important for diabetics, that take blood sugar levelling medications, to test their blood sugar everyday and should never take these medications on an empty stomach.
Causes of hypoglycaemic episodes in non-diabetics
Addison's disease (in the adrenal glands)
Patients who have had their stomach removed.
Severe reduction in liver function.
Tumour (often benign) in the insulin-producing pancreas. This is a very rare condition.
Weakened pituitary gland.
Reactive hypoglycaemia is possibly the most common reason for hypoglycaemia in non-diabetics but is often over diagnosed. This form of hypoglycaemia is probably caused by an overproduction of insulin from the pancreas after a large meal with a lot of carbohydrates.
The insulin can still be detected even after several hours, although the level should be back to normal at this time. This condition is probably most common in overweight people and those with Type 2 diabetes, where the large demand for insulin can sometimes cause too much insulin to be produced in the pancreas. There is some evidence to suggest that reactive hypoglycaemia can precede Type 2 diabetes.
Hypoglycaemia can cause some or all of the following symptoms
A feeling of weakness
Temporary loss of consciousness
These symptoms will often occur about three to four hours after a meal. When the symptoms occur, the blood glucose level should be measured. If all three of the criteria below are met, it is important that the patient is referred for further examination at a hospital.
Blood glucose level below 2.5mmol/l (millimole per litre) or sometimes slightly higher.
Some or all of the symptoms listed above occur.
The symptoms go away within 10 minutes of eating sugar.
When hypoglycaemia has been diagnosed, the most important thing to do is to change the diet. It should consist of a lot of complex carbohydrates - potatoes, rice, pasta, etc and be divided into more, but smaller meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner and three in-between meals) to avoid the big fluctuations in the insulin secretion from the pancreas.
Too little potassium in the blood usually from causes like vomiting, diarrhoea, sweating and medications like diuretics or laxatives. It is often seen in diabetic ketoacidosis, where potassium is excessively lost in the urine. Since chemicals in the body are related in their metabolism, low magnesium levels can also be associated with hypokalaemia.
Diabetic ketoacidosis results from dehydration during a state of insulin deficiency, associated with high blood levels of sugar level and organic acids called ketones. Diabetic ketoacidosis is associated with significant disturbances of the body's chemistry. Diabetic ketoacidosis usually occurs in people with type 1 (juvenile) diabetes, but diabetic ketoacidosis can develop in any person with diabetes. Since type 1 diabetes typically starts before age 25 years, diabetic ketoacidosis is most common in this age group, but it may occur at any age. Males and females
are equally affected.
It occurs when the body has no insulin to use, and switches to burning fatty acids and producing acidic ketone bodies. These can cause particularly severe illness. Diabetic ketoacidosis may be caused by underlying illnesses, pregnancy, inadequate insulin administration, stroke, cocaine use or myocardial infarction.
While the fat is being broken down, a waste product called ketones are produced. Ketones have nowhere to go except the blood. If they build up too much then the diabetic could die. Symptoms usually evolve over a 24 hour period, with the first sign often being hyperglycaemia.
Typical symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis
A sweet body odour.
Breath that smells like sweet fruit.
Deep laboured breathing (kussmaul breathing).
Sudden loss of energy.
Urinating more often than usual.
NOTE: Treat this as an emergency and call an ambulance or have someone else call an ambulance.
Pancreatic exhaustion and failure
Eating too many processed, sugary foods, such as sweets, biscuits, cakes, pastas and even breads, can cause an overload of sugar in the body. As the body breaks down these sugars, it does so at such a rapid pace it creates blood-sugar imbalances that can lead to diabetes. This rapid rise and fall of high to low blood-sugar levels due to diabetes leads to deterioration of the pancreas because of the need for fluctuating levels of insulin. Pancreatic exhaustion can occur after just a few years on a diet of processed carbohydrates and, if left untreated, will lead to
pancreatic failure. However, switching to a diet of natural whole foods, losing any excess weight and taking gentle exercise can stabilise the blood sugar levels and, in turn, reverse the damage done to the pancreas. For natural ways to take care of this important organ see Pancreas.
Diabetics often suffer from more occurrences of urinary tract infection than non-diabetics because of the excess sugar in the urine which feeds the bacteria. Drinking alcohol, especially beer, will aggravate this condition. Avoid other bladder irritant foods such as caffeine, chives, chocolate, nicotine, spicy food, sugar and tomatoes.
Asparagus can prevent and treat urinary tract infections.
Cranberry juice: Pure unsweetened cranberry juice can prevent the bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract and drinking plenty of bottled mineral water can eradicate urinary tract infections by diluting the sugar present in the urine.
Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness is adults aged 20-74 due to retinal damage. See Diabetic retinopathy
In women, inflammation of the fallopian tubes can lead to scarring and blockages. In men, high blood sugar affects their ability to repair sperm DNA when it’s damaged and then the sperm can’t be restored.
Heart attack and stroke
Up to 80% of people with diabetes will die as a result of heart attack or stroke. The damage that occurs to the heart and blood vessels due to hyperglycaemia as well as having high blood glucose itself are risk factors for both of these events. SeeCardiovascular disease
End-stage renal disease
This is when the kidneys have failed completely and can no longer function on a level needed for day-to-day life. At this point there is a need for dialysis or kidney transplant. See Chronic renal failure
This may be required due to gangrene (the death of body tissues). If peripheral neuropathy has occurred, a person may not notice a wound on their foot because they cannot feel it, so the wound may develop into a foot ulcer, which becomes infected. Because hyperglycaemia leads to poor circulation and damage to the small blood vessels, there often a reduced and inadequate supply of blood to the extremities. As a result, these tissue cells receive less nutrients, oxygen and fewer white blood cells to combat infection. Combined with the fact that the immune system is weakened due to hyperglycaemia, the infection grows rapidly and develops into gangrene. The removal of the dead tissue is
necessary to prevent the gangrene from spreading and this may involve the amputation of an entire limb.
Some nutritional yeasts, especially brewer’s yeast, can interact with medications. Those who are on Type 1 diabetes medication are especially at risk.
Metformin can also cause lactic acidosis which can lead to cardiac arrhythmia and other complications..
Oral Hyperglycaemic; Metformin (Glucophage, Glucophage XR and Glucovance) enhances the action of insulin in cases of insulin resistance, allowing glucose to enter the cells. This reduces elevated blood sugar. Diabetics on metformin have 50% less vitamin B12 levels than people not taking metformin. The longer the drug had been used and the higher the dose, the greater the drop in vitamin B12. In people with Type 2 diabetes who take metformin therapy, serum vitamin B9 (folic acid) levels decrease 7% and vitamin B12 levels decrease by 14%. Vitamin B12 and vitamin B9 (folic acid) depletion also increases homocysteine levels.
In addition, metformin depletes coenzymeQ10 which can result in muscle pain and weakness, irritability, mood swings, depression, impotency and heart failure.
In 2008 it was found that the natural plant alkaloid known as berberine is just as effective and much safer than metformin, the patent medicine most commonly now prescribed to help re-regulate blood sugar in type 2 diabetes. See Berberine below
If taking blood sugar levelling medication a varying selection from each of the nutrient categories of the following natural foods must be consumed daily.
The delicate balance of the body can affected by the slightest nutritional deficiency or toxicity so the diet must include good levels of fibre to feed the beneficial bacteria in the intestines and aid digestion and the manufacturer and absorption of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Certain phytonutrients have a direct impact on the balancing of sugar levels in the blood and the natural foods listed below have been chosen for their particular beneficial effect in this area. Also foods to flush out toxins and ward off pathogenic bacteria, yeasts and viruses have been included as these can also seriously affect the absorption and
manufacture of vital nutrients required by the body to control the levels of sugar in the blood.
Consume a wide variety of the foods below in the daily diet to benefit from their powerful properties. Eating a multitude of all colours of fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices per day will ensure that all the nutrients required have been ingested.
One of the most important elements that must be included in the daily diet is fibre and that from beans and legumes are a good combination of high quality carbohydrates, lean protein and soluble fibre that helps stabilise the body's blood-sugar levels and keeps hunger in check. Include a portion of at least one of the following daily.
Because all the above legumes and pulses (as well as nuts, seeds and whole grains) contain high levels of phytic acid, which inhibits absorption of minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, nickel and especially zinc, it is important to soak, ferment or sprout them as this reduces the phytic acid levels.
Place one part kombu or kelp seaweed to six parts of legumes in the bottom of the pot and add legumes, grains etc.
Soak for twelve hours in a warm place in four parts of warm mineral water to one part legume.
For best results, change the water once or twice.
Lentils and whole dried peas require shorter soaking, while soybeans and garbanzos need to soak longer. Soaking softens skins and begins the sprouting process, which eliminates phytic acid, thereby making more minerals available. Soaking also promotes faster cooking and improved digestibility, because the gas-causing enzymes and trisaccharides in legumes are released into the soak water. Be sure to discard the soak water and rinse the legumes. After bringing legumes to a boil, scoop off and discard the foam. Continue to simmer for twenty minutes without lid at
beginning of cooking to let steam rise (breaks up and disperses indigestible enzymes).
For the highest natural food sources of these important minerals see the following further down this page:
This smoothie will help to balance blood sugar levels and control blood pressure.
One green apple
A handful of spinach leaves
Two celery stalks
Wash, deseed and chop the apples.
Wash and chop the carrots and celery
Place all ingredients into a blender and mix thoroughly.
Consume every morning on an empty stomach.
Green apples are rich in malic acid that is exceptional in bringing down blood sugar levels. Carrots are good for the eyes and help to regulate the flow of blood. Spinach is rich in vitamins A and C, and calcium. Celery is rich in magnesium and potassium and can help to lower high blood pressure.
Breakfast for diabetics
A nutritious breakfast, that will not cause blood sugar spikes, is the most important meal of the day for the diabetics. The following is an ideal combination of natural foods that contain the nutrients necessary for stabilising blood sugar levels. It can also help with weight loss and will greatly reduce the need for blood sugar lowering medications after just one month if consumed daily. The ingredients can be varied with others from the foods listed on this page but the natural yoghurt, Brewer's yeast, berries, cinnamon, flaxseeds and spirulina are daily necessities.
Half a dessert bowl of plain natural yoghurt with live cultures.
One tables spoon of Brewer's yeast.
One tablespoon of milled flaxseeds.
One tablespoon of ground hemp seeds.
One tablespoon of cooked amaranth or buckwheat or a cooked whole grain like oats or millet.
One tablespoon of crushed nuts (almonds, brazil, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans and/or walnuts)
Half a punnet (85 g or 3 ounce serving) of blueberries, cranberries or other red, blue or blackberries. (fresh or frozen).
One teaspoon of psyllium husks.
Half a teaspoon of spirulina.
Quarter of a teaspoon of cinnamon.
Three finely ground cloves.
The juice of half a freshly squeezed lemon.
Mix the above ingredients in a bowl and consume this daily. Avoid drinking tea with breakfast as it can inhibit the absorption of iron and chromium. Consume 30 minutes before or afterwards.
A to Z of natural foods that can stabilise and treat diabetes
Try steaming a wide selection of the vegetables listed below with the herbs and spices listed and a tablespoon of cold-pressed coconut, olive or rapeseed oil, half a freshly squeezed lemon and a few tablespoons of bottled mineral water then place in a blender for a deliciously healthy potage soup and eat a small bowl before each meal. This not only stimulates the digestive juices and provides many of the beneficial nutrients, it also makes the stomach feel fuller so that you will eat less afterwards.
Almonds(five per day) and walnuts (five halves per day) provide a healthy, low carbohydrate mix of monounsaturated fats plus magnesium, which is believed to be instrumental in carbohydrate metabolism. High daily magnesium intake can reduce the risk of developing diabetes by 33 percent. Eating a small handful of almonds before a meal especially helps regulate blood sugar levels and both nuts can improve insulin levels when consumed regularly every day.
See below for more foods rich in Magnesium
Aloe verahas powerful properties which can regulate blood sugar levels due to its acemannan content.
To make juice from an aloe vera plant
Break off a few leaves.
Take a sharp knife and carefully peel the green rind from the leaves and discard.
Peel off the yellow layer with a sharp knife or it can be removed by using one tablespoon of white vinegar and one cup of water.
There should be about two tablespoons of clear aloe vera gel left.
Place in a blender with freshly chopped pineapple and blend.
Coconut water is a good addition as it can also help rehydrate the body.
Consuming this drink will rehydrate the body and provide nutrients such as chromium, magnesium and vitamin B3 all of which are often lacking in diabetics.
NOTE: Over consumption of aloe vera can stimulate increased bowel function so it is recommended to increase the intake gradually to avoid intestinal cramping.
The combination of aloe vera gel, bay leaves and turmeric is helpful for controlling blood sugar. Mix together one-half teaspoon each of ground bay leaves and turmeric and one tablespoon of aloe vera gel. Consume it twice daily, before lunch and dinner.
Apple cider vinegar: The anti-glycaemic effects of apple cider vinegar help to improve insulin sensitivity. People who have insulin resistance should have a dose of apple cider vinegar with each meal. Mix one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with one glass of filtered water. Drink this three times daily to steady the stomach’s digestion rate, which in turn increases the time the body has to process new sugars and keeps the blood sugar levels more stable.
Avocado is high in monounsaturated fats, which are generally considered among the healthiest of fats and can improve insulin sensitivity. Monounsaturated fats also improve heart health, which is especially important for diabetics, who are at an increased risk for heart disease and stroke.
Barley: Hulled barley, in which the outer husk (the bran) is left intact, contains more fibre and nutrients than other forms, such as pearl barley. Hulled barley lowers blood cholesterol levels, protects against cancer especially colon cancer, is cardio-protective and protects against diabetes as it slows starch digestion, which help keep blood sugar levels stable.
Green barley juice made from the sprouts of contains eleven times the calcium in cows' milk, nearly five times the iron in spinach, seven times the vitamin C in oranges, and, unusual for plant food sources, it contains 80 mcg of vitamin B12 per hundred grams. Barley greens are also rich in beta-carotene, vitamins B1, B2, B5, B6 and B9 (folic acid). Because of this barley grass juice can be used to treat diabetes effectively and because it is one of the rare plants to contain vitamin B12 it is a useful addition to the diet of those that limit meat intake. Barley grass is easily grown as a sprouting seed. See the
Sprouts page for more information.
Black plumor jambul, also known as jamun can help with controlling blood sugar level because it contains anthocyanins, ellagic acid and hydrolysable tannins etc. The leaves, berry and seeds can be used to treat diabetes. Research has shown that the fruits and seeds of this plant have hypoglycaemic effects as they help reduce blood and urine sugar levels rapidly. The seeds, in particular, contain glycoside jamboline and alkaloid jambosine that regulate
control blood sugar levels. Whenever this seasonal fruit is available, try to include it in the diet as it can be very effective for the pancreas. Or make a powder of dried seeds of Jambul fruit and eat this powder with water twice a day. This fruit is native to India and its neighbouring countries and can be found in Asian markets and herbal shops.
Black teacontains polysaccharides, a type of carbohydrate that includes starch and cellulose which can benefit people with diabetes by slowing glucose absorption. Black tea contains more polysaccharides than either green or oolong teas. There are also other natural chemicals found in black tea which protect against diabetes by mimicking the effects of insulin in the body.
Brine picklesprovides the addition of friendly bacteria which the intestine needs and preserves foods naturally without using synthetic additives for one year. It also does not destroy the important nutrients required by diabetics. See how to make your own very easily on the Brine picklingpage.
Buckwheat, which is technically a fruit rather than a grain, helps control blood sugar levels when consumed regularly.
Cinnamonantioxidants aid against arthritis, urinary tract infections, sinus congestion, tooth decay and gum disease and is also effective against diabetes. It improves blood sugar regulation by significantly increasing glucose metabolism. In addition, it has insulin-like effects in the body and anthocyanidin, a bioflavonoid that changes the insulin signalling activity of fat cells. Sprinkle some cinnamon on foods once a day. See anthocyaninsbelow for more natural sources
Cloves and clove oil: The postprandial insulin and glucose response mechanisms are more regulated when clove oil is acting on the body’s systems. Try adding three cloves to a cup of herbal tea and consume daily.
Cocoa raw and unprocessed, without any refined sugars added, reduces insulin resistance.
Coconut oil(cold-pressed only) has medium-chain fatty acids which immediately become available as energy and so are far healthier than all other oils which have long-chained fatty acids. The smaller, easily absorbed medium-chain molecules supply the cells with essential fatty acids without glucose and without inhibiting insulin production. Long-chain fatty acids are either deposited in blood vessels as cholesterol or stored as fat around the waist,
thighs and buttocks.
Curry leavescan help to prevent and control diabetes as they have anti-diabetic properties as they contain an ingredient that reduces the rate at which starch is broken down to glucose in diabetics. Chew about ten fresh curry leaves daily in the morning. For best results, continue this treatment for three to four months. They also help to reduce high cholesterol levels and obesity.
Egg whites are in high-quality lean protein and low in carbohydrates and another healthy choice for controlling or preventing type 2 diabetes. One large egg white contains about 16 calories and 4 g of high-quality, filling protein, making egg whites a perfect food for blood sugar control, as well as weight-loss and maintenance. However, egg whites also contain a protein called avidin that binds to vitamin B7 (biotin) which may cause a deficiency
of this vitamin if consumed over a few months. When cooked, avidin is partially denatured and binding to biotin is reduced. However one study showed that 30-40% of the avidin activity was still present in the white after frying or boiling so consumption of cooked egg whites should be limited to about three times a week whereas egg yolks, that contain most of the nutrients and no avidin, should be consumed more often. The other alternative is to eat extra foods rich in vitamin B7 the same day as eating egg whites.
Highest sources of vitamin B7 in micrograms per 100 grams
Fenugreek is a herb that can also be used to control diabetes, improve glucose tolerance and lower blood sugar levels due to its hypoglycaemic activity. It also stimulates the secretion of glucose-dependent insulin. Being high in fibre, it slows down the absorption of carbohydrates and sugars. Fenugreek contains a powerful amino acid (4-hydroxyisoleucine) that helps the insulin producing cells of the pancreas to produce more insulin thus
lowering blood sugar.
Soak two tablespoons of fenugreek seeds in water overnight. Drink the water along with the seeds in the morning on an empty stomach. Follow this remedy for a few months to bring down glucose levels. Another option is to eat two tablespoons of powdered fenugreek seeds daily sprinkled onto meals.
NOTE: Excess intake of fenugreek seeds by pregnant mothers could put them at risk of premature childbirth and therefore it is inadvisable for pregnant women to consume fenugreek seeds.
Fig leaves have properties that can treat diabetes. The diabetic needs less insulin when on a treatment of using the fig leaf extract. The diabetic should take the extract with breakfast, first thing in the morning. An additional remedy is to boil the leaves of the fig in some freshly filtered or bottled mineral water and drink this as a tea.
Ginger consuming 2 g per day can produce significantly higher insulin sensitivity which is beneficial to diabetics as well as lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
Green teacan help to prevent the progression of type 1 diabetes as it regulates glucose levels in the body. It also lowers blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics and reduces complications associated with diabetes such as cataracts and cardiovascular disease and it promotes weight loss.
Guava: Due to its high vitamin C and fibre content, eating guava can be very helpful in maintaining blood sugar levels. However, too much consumption of guava in one day is not recommended. It is advisable for diabetics to avoid eating the skin of this fruit.
Gymnema sylvestre is a herb which has been shown to slow the transport of glucose from the intestines to the bloodstream. It can also help to repair and regenerate the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.
Hemp seeds can lower blood sugar due to the high nutrient, fibre and healthy fat content that help in the quick absorption of glucose from the bloodstream and its conversion into energy. Therefore, sweet cravings will decrease and energy levels will increase.
Indian gooseberry, also known as Amla, is rich in vitamin C and Indian gooseberry juice promotes proper functioning of the pancreas so is therefore useful for treating and preventing diabetes. Take two to three Indian gooseberries, remove the seeds and grind it into a fine paste. Put the paste in a cloth and squeeze out the juice. Mix two tablespoons of the juice in one cup of water and drink it daily on an empty stomach. Alternatively, mix one
tablespoon of Indian gooseberry juice in a cup of bitter gourd juice and drink it daily for a few months.
Lucuma powder can be used as a nutritious alternative natural sweetener for people with diabetes as it does not cause sugar spikes.
Lemon balm contains harmine, also known as telepathine, which is a fluorescent harmala alkaloid belonging to the beta-carboline family of compounds which has shown in studies to induce beta-cell proliferation, increase islet mass and improve blood sugar balance in diabetics.
Mango leaves: The delicate and tender mango leaves can be used to treat diabetes by regulating insulin levels in the blood. They can also help improve blood lipid profiles. Soak 10 to 15 chopped fresh young mango leaves in a glass of water overnight. In the morning, strain the liquid of the leaves and drink it on an empty stomach. The leaves can also be dried in the shade and ground. Eat one-half teaspoon of powdered mango leaves two times
Maqui berry is a 'super berry' from the Chile and Argentinean regions of South America which contains the highest number of antioxidants, known as anthocyanins, and anti-inflammatory compounds than any other known natural food. Regular consumption can also lower the blood sugar and blood pressure and prevent the cardiovascular complications of diabetes.
Millet: regular consumption can significantly reduce blood sugar, lower blood pressure and help to prevent diabetic heart disease.
Oatmealwith one to two tablespoons of chopped pecans, almonds or walnuts can significantly stabilise blood sugar.
Okra, also called ladies’ fingers, has constituents such as polyphenolic molecules that can help reduce blood glucose levels and control diabetes. A 2011 study found okra to have anti-diabetic and anti-hyperlipidemic properties. Cut off the ends of a few okras and prick them in several places using a fork. Soak the okras in a glass of water overnight. In the morning, strain off the liquid and drink the water on an empty stomach. Do this daily for several
weeks. Also, include okra as a vegetable in the diet.
Octopus and squidare often considered an important addition to the diet for people with diabetes, as they are a rich source of vitamin B3, which helps to control blood sugar levels.
Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines are not only rich in omega-3 fatty acids but also contain a healthy fat and protein combination that slows the body's absorption of carbohydrates, keeping blood sugars on an even keel.
Prickly pear has been used in Mexico to treat diabetes for over 1,000 years and is one of the most used natural products in Central America. A single dose of prickly pear can lower blood sugar in people having type 2 diabetes by 17 to 46%
Psyllium husks: Consume a tablespoon of psyllium husks daily sprinkled onto soups, sandwiches and salads or stirred into stews, curries and gravies etc. after cooking. This is a good way to provide the intestinal bacteria with the fibre it needs to provide proficient digestive tract action and protects the colon from damage. It also can rectify many excretory system disorders such as constipation and correct absorption of nutrients.
Raw juice therapycan help to treat diabetes symptoms. The best fruit and vegetables for diabetics to juice are: broccoli, cabbage, carrot, celery, citrus fruits, guava, lettuce, radish, spinach and watercress.
Sea buckthorn berries contain fourteen essential vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and the rarely found omega-7 fatty acids. These fatty acids have a myriad of powerful health benefits that protect the blood vessels, brain and the heart. The vitamin C content of one tiny yellow/orange sea buckthorn berry is higher than that of an orange. It is also rich in antioxidants, vitamin E and hundreds of other nutrients and has powerful anti-inflammation and
Seaweedcan help with weight loss and blood sugar control. Wakame, the brown algae used to flavour Asian soups and salads and often used in miso soup and sushi rolls, contains the carotenoid called fucoxanthin that helps promote fat burning proteins and promotes the synthesis in the liver of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the fatty acid also found in fish oils.
Starchy foods: Cooling cooked pasta and other starchy foods down and then keeping in the refrigerator overnight and reheating thoroughly before eating the next day turns the starch into resistant starch, which then becomes beneficial fibre for the intestines and reduces blood-sugar spikes.
Sweet potatoes are rich in nutrients that can help balance blood sugar levels. They are an excellent source of antioxidants like beta-carotene, vitamin C and manganese. Not only do they have a low glycaemic index, but they have even been shown in a clinical trial to help reduce blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity in adults with type II diabetes.
Swiss chard contains many important phytonutrients in its coloured stems and leaves which are powerful stabilisers of blood sugar.
Turmeric offers good protection against diabetes. Consume half a teaspoon daily in a hot drink or sprinkled on to salads, vegetables, eggs of fish dishes.
Vegetablessuch as broccoli, mushrooms, okra, peppers, rocket, spinach, Swiss chard and watercress are a rich source of high quality carbohydrates. Because these low calorie, nutrient-dense vegetables have a low-impact on blood sugar, they should be an integral component of a diabetic food plan.
Yoghurtwith natural live cultures contains both high-quality carbohydrates and protein, making it an excellent food for slowing or preventing an unhealthy rise in blood sugar. Studies also show that a diet high in calcium from yogurt and other calcium-rich foods is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
A to Z of nutrients needed to stabilise blood sugar levels and look after the pancreas
Supplements of these nutrients are not advised as they can cause serious imbalances and lead to further health issues as most supplements are not correctly balanced with the cofactors required and often are non-absorbable forms of the nutrient. There is also often artificial additives and processes which involve toxic heavy metal chemicals. Consuming natural foods is the best recourse unless serious deficiencies have been shown in a blood test.
Adenine is a protein that helps to balance blood sugar levels, acts as a precursor for assimilation of B vitamins and increases transit time of the intestinal tract which is helpful for diabetics.
Natural sources of adenine
Alanine is also required for the metabolism of tryptophan, another important amino acid, that serves as a precursor for, and raises levels of, serotonin a neurotransmitter that helps the body regulate appetite, sleep patterns and mood. Also around 3% of tryptophan gained from the diet is converted into vitamin B3 (niacin) by the liver and this is an important vitamin that helps to control blood sugar levels. People with diabetes are often lacking in vitamin B3. See below Vitamin B3
Highest sources of alanine in alphabetic order
Plums and prunes
Alpha lipoic acid works as an antioxidant in both water and fatty tissue enabling it to enter all parts of the nerve cell and protect it from damage and thus relieve peripheral neuropathy which can be caused by injury, nutritional deficiencies, chemotherapy or by conditions such as diabetes, alcoholism, kidney failure, Lyme
disease, shingles and thyroid disease. Symptoms can include pain, burning, numbness, tingling, weakness, and itching. In addition to being a powerful antioxidant, alpha-lipoic acid helps the body use glucose; hence, it is useful in lowering blood sugar levels and in the management of diabetes and may help prevent the cellular damage accompanying the complications of diabetes. It also has a protective effect in the brain and nerve tissues.
Highest sources of
alpha lipoic acid in alphabetical order
Brewers yeast (dependent upon source)
Anthocyanins: Three servings per week of red and purple fruits and vegetables that are high in anthocyanins significantly reduces the risk of type-2 diabetes due to the fact these fruits contain high levels of anthocyanins. These fruits also contain naturally-occurring polyphenols which are known to have beneficial effects on diabetics. Replacing fruit juice consumption with whole fruits can bring extra health benefits as well as drinking plenty of green tea which also contains polyphenols.
NOTE: Anthocyanins are mostly concentrated in the skins of fruits and vegetables.
Broccoli tops (purple)
Grapes (red and black)
Potatoes (red skinned)
Radishes (red skinned)
Saw palmetto berries
Sweet potatoes (purple varieties)
Astaxanthin is one of the most powerful antioxidants known to man. It is 6,000 times stronger than vitamin C, 800 times stronger than coenzyme Q10, 550 times stronger than green tea catechins and 75 times stronger than alpha-lipoic acid. It gives the red and pink colour to fresh water and ocean fish and can reduce the inflammation that is associated with type 2 diabetes.
Natural sources of astaxanthin
Red sea bream
Salmon and roe eggs
The highest concentration of this powerful antioxidant is found in a type of algae (Haematococcus microalgae) and red krill oil.
Berberine is a major active component of the herb Huang-lian (Coptis chinensis), which has been used in China to treat type 2 diabetes for thousands of years. Berberine improves the action of insulin by activating an enzyme which helps regulate the cellular uptake of glucose, the oxidation (burning) of fatty acids and the synthesis of glucose, the insulin-regulated glucose carrier found in fat and skeletal and cardiac muscle that is responsible for
moving glucose from the bloodstream into cells.
This is found only in muscle and fat cells, the major tissues in the body that respond to insulin. Berberine increases the expression (number and activity) of insulin receptors. The increase in number and activity enables the same amount of insulin to be more effective than before. Berberine also decreases insulin resistance. It inhibits an enzyme (protein tyrosine phosphatase) which in turn inhibits the insulin receptor. When the insulin receptor is not inhibited as much, it can function better and the insulin can work better.
In 2008 it was found that the natural plant alkaloid berberine was just as effective and much safer than Metformin, the patent medicine most commonly now prescribed to help re-regulate blood sugar in type 2 diabetes and it can also lower LDL cholesterol levels. Incretins are hormones secreted by the stomach and intestines that simultaneously increase the amount of insulin and inhibit the amount of glucagon (a pancreatic hormone which opposes insulin) released from the pancreatic islet cells after eating, even before blood sugar levels rise. It’s like an anticipatory action so more insulin and less glucagon will be immediately available when the glucose starts to rise in the blood. Incretins also slow the rate of absorption of
nutrients into the blood stream by slowing stomach emptying; this may indirectly reduce food intake. Another way in which berberine regulates blood sugar is by increasing the secretion of one of the major incretins, glucagon-like peptide.
Berberine is a potent oral hypoglycaemic (blood sugar lowering) agent with modest effect on lipid metabolism. It is safe and the cost of treatment by berberine is very low but long term tests have not yet been carried out to evaluate its safeness.
CUATION: There may be an interaction between berberine and many prescription medications, including Metformin, and it should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women due to potential for adverse effects in the newborn. Excess berberine can cause brain, kidney and liver problems and should never be taken as a supplement on its own. It has been shown to cause liver tumours in rats and people with heart problems can be induced by berberine to have arrhythmia attacks.
Calcium: Studies also show that a diet high in calcium from yogurt and other calcium-rich foods is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
Chromium can help people with diabetes control blood sugar levels. People with diabetes either do not produce enough insulin, a hormone needed to change sugar, starches and other food into energy, or cannot use the insulin that their bodies make.
Chromium may lower blood sugar levels as well, improving glucose tolerance and reducing the amount of insulin needed. Because brewer's yeast is a rich source of chromium, scientists think it may help treat high blood sugar. Deficiency of chromium could result in glucose intolerance (diabetes) which is on the rise. This deficiency could be caused by the soil levels of chromium which has been leached out due to modern day farming techniques and the widespread consumption of refined and processed foods, which are typically low in chromium.
Deficiency can also result in nerve illnesses, heart problems and increased cholesterol and fat concentrations in the blood. People on prolonged intravenous nutrition often develop diabetes. There are many reasons this is true, but one potential reason is chromium deficiency. For these people, getting chromium levels back to normal can reverse the issue. Intense exercise can also increase the rate of chromium loss in the urine.
Highest sources of chromium in micrograms per 100 grams
Brewer's yeast 400 µg (dependent upon source)
Mussels 128 µg
Brazil nut 100 µg
Oyster 57 µg
Dates (dried) 29 µg
Pears 27 µg
Shrimp 26 µg
Wholemeal flour 21 µg
Tomatoes 20 µg
Mushrooms 17 µg
Broccoli 16 µg
Barley (wholegrain) 13 µg
Hazelnuts 12 µg
Maize (wholegrain) 9 µg
Egg yolk 6 µg
Herring 2 µg
NOTE: Make sure to read the label of Brewer's Yeast as some inferior products do not contain chromium. High-quality brewer's yeast powder or flakes contain as much as 60 µg of chromium per tablespoon (15 grams). One µg is equivalent to one microgram.
Iron is important for diabetics as it is responsible for
the vital activity of the blood and glands, the manufacture of red blood cells, oxygen transportation and holding energy levels stable. Some of the symptoms of diabetes are very similar to those of iron deficiency and when an individual is trying to lose weight to treat their diabetes they may become deficient in iron. Vitamin A is required to move iron from storage in the body and a deficiency in vitamin A can lead to iron deficiency.
Highest sources of iron in milligrams per 100 grams
Black pepper, marjoram, parsley, spinach, thyme 224 mg
Spirulina 29 mg
Clams 28 mg
Bran 19 mg
Liver 18 mg
Squash and pumpkin seeds 15 mg
Caviar 12 mg
Hemp seeds 9.6 mg
Sun dried tomatoes 9 mg
Cashew nuts 6.7 mg
Dried apricot 6.3 mg
Wheat 6.3 mg
Black strap molasses 4.7 mg
Prunes 3.5 mg
Artichokes 3.4 mg
Prawns 3.1 mg
Lean beef 2.9 mg
Raisins 1.9 mg
Chicken 1.3 mg
Tuna 1.3 mg
Magnesium, which is believed to be instrumental in carbohydrate metabolism. High daily magnesium intake can reduce the risk of developing diabetes by 33 percent.
Highest sources of magnesium in micrograms per 100 grams
Rice bran 781 mg
Basil, coriander, dill and sage 694 mg
Pumpkin and squash seeds 535 mg
Raw cocoa 499 mg
Flaxseeds 392 mg
Brazil nuts 376 mg
Sesame seeds 353 mg
Sunflower seeds 346 mg
Wheat germ 313 mg
Black strap molasses 242 mg
Spirulina 189 mg
Kale 88 mg
Globe artichoke 60 mg
Okra 57 mg
Rocket 47 mg
Plantain 37 mg
Butternut squash 34 mg
Potatoes with skin 30 mg
Passion fruit 29 mg
Savoy cabbage 28 mg
Peas 24 mg
Raspberries 22 mg
Guava 22 mg
Blackberries 20 mg
Kiwi fruit 17 mg
Manganese is often deficient in diabetics and is needed to regulate blood sugar so can be a causal factor.
Highest sources of manganese in milligrams per 100 grams
Cloves 60.1 mg
Rice bran 14.2 mg
Pine nuts 8.8 mg
Mussels 6.8 mg
Hazelnuts 5.6 mg
Pumpkin seeds 4.5 mg
Whole wheat 2.1 mg
Cocoa beans 3.8 mg
Soya beans 2.2 mg
Sunflower seeds 1.9 mg
Cashew nuts and garlic 1.7 mg
Brewer’s yeast 0.08 mg (depending upon source)
Egg yolks 1.1 mg
Black beans 1.1 mg
Dried peas 0.39 mg
Kidney beans 0.2 mg
NOTE: Manganese is concentrated in the outer covering of nuts, in the green leaves of edible plants and green vegetables such as peas and runner beans.
Molybdenum is a mineral that helps the body manufacture enzymes, such as the ones needed for the use of the energy from the fats and carbohydrates, as well as helping the body make use of the iron ingested which sustains mental alertness. It is also essential for blood sugar balance.
Natural sources of molybdenum in alphabetical order
Dark green vegetables
Nickelhelps the body absorb the iron it needs to produce red blood cells that carry the oxygen to the pancreas which helps it function correctly.
Highest sources of nickel in alphabetical order
NOTE: It is possible that the nickel in grains can bind with the phytic acid (see above) in these grains reducing the amount of nickel available for absorption.
Omega-3 fatty acidscan improve insulin action and reduce blood glucose levels and are essential in the treatment of diabetes. They can be synthesised from alpha-linolenic acid found in plants or obtained directly from foods rich in the eicosapentaenic acid (EPA),
docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA).
Highest sources of linolenic omega-3 fatty acids in alphabetical order
Highest sources of
EPA and DHA and DPA omga-3 fatty acids in alphabetical order
Cod and cod liver oil
Vanadium is a trace mineral found in many foods that has a positive effect in people with diabetes type 2 by lowering blood sugar levels and improving sensitivity to insulin. In one study of people with type 2 diabetes, vanadium also lowered their total and LDL cholesterol. Like insulin, vanadium is believed to help shuttle nutrients, like amino acids and blood sugar, into muscle cells.
Highest source of vanadium in alphabetical order
Vitamin A is essential for the health of the retinas of the eyes especially for diabetics.
Vitamin A can be gained through consuming foods rich in the preformed vitamin A or by consuming the precursor carotenoids so that the body can make its own vitamin A. Adequate levels of zinc are also needed to transport vitamin A to the retina. See Zinc below.
Natural sources of preformed vitamin A
Cod liver oil
Fish and fish eggs
Milk (full cream)
Carotenoids are fat-soluble which requires the presence of dietary fat for proper absorption. Medical conditions that interfere with the digestion of fats, such as Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, surgical removal of the stomach, pancreatic enzyme deficiency and gall bladder and liver disease can inhibit the body’s ability to absorb carotenoids. People that take cholesterol-lowering medications, smokers, those that regularly consume alcohol and those that have diets low in calories or lacking fruits and vegetables may also have lower than normal carotenoid levels.
Most of the carotenoids in fruits and vegetables are in the skin, so it is wise best not to peel fruits and vegetables when possible. However, lightly steaming some foods, such as carrots, spinach and tomatoes can actually improve the body’s ability to absorb them. Because carotenoids are fat-soluble they must be consumed with a little oil in order for the body to absorb them. Add a tablespoon of a cold-pressed oil such as coconut, fish, nut, olive, rapeseed or other nut or seed oils.
Highest sources of alpha-carotene in micrograms per 100 grams
Pumpkin 4795 µg
Carrots 3776 µg
Chilli powder 2076 µg
Parsley 1461 µg
Squash 682 µg
Plantains 437 µg
Pimento 241 µg
Tomatoes 101 µg
Tangerines 101 µg
Prunes 57 µg
Red bell peppers 55µg
Peas 53 µg
Sweet potatoes 43 µg
Red chilli peppers 36 µg
Egg yolk 36 µg
Jalapeno peppers 30 µg
Raspberries 29 µg
Avocado 28 µg
Broccoli 25 µg
Cabbage 25 µg
Bananas 25 µg
Star fruit 24 µg
Green chillies 22 µg
Apricots 20 µg
Mango 16 µg
Melon 15 µg
Highest sources of beta-carotene in micrograms per 100 grams
Chilli pepper and paprika 26162 µg
Sun dried chilli peppers 14844 µg
Sweet potatoes 11509 µg
Kale 8823 µg
Carrots 8332 µg
Pumpkin 6940 µg
Romaine lettuce 5226 µg
Parsley 5054 µg
Marjoram 4806 µg
Sage 4806 µg
Butternut squash 4570 µg
Cress 4150 µg
Coriander 3930 µg
Basil 3142 µg
Broccoli 2720 µg
Chives 2612 µg
Watercress 1914 µg
Leeks 1000 µg
Passion fruit 743 µg
Courgettes 670 µg
Mango 640 µg
Asparagus 604 µg
NOTE: One µg is one microgram.
Vitamin B3: The following are important additions to the diet for people with diabetes as they are a rich source of vitamin B3 (niacin) which helps to control blood sugar levels. People with diabetes are often lacking in this important vitamin.
Highest sources of vitamin B3 in milligrams per 100 grams:
Yeast extract 127.5 mg
Brewer’s yeast 40.2 mg (dependent upon source)
Rice bran 34 mg
Tuna fish (fresh) 22 mg
Anchovies 19.9 mg
Lamb’s liver 16.7 mg
Chicken breast 14.8 mg
Shiitake mushrooms 14.1 mg
Peanuts 13.8 mg
Tuna fish (tinned) 13.3 mg
Spirulina 12.8 mg
Calf’s liver 12.6 mg
Chilli powder 11.6 mg
Venison 10.8 mg
Duck 10.4 mg
Paprika 10 mg
Sun dried tomatoes 9.1 mg
Chia seeds 8.8 mg
Vitamin B15: Consuming foods rich in vitamin B15 can help with both preventing and treating diabetes.
Vitamin C enhances the absorption of dietary chromium therefore foods rich in vitamin C should be consumed at the same time as foods rich in chromium.
: Vitamin C supplements might raise blood sugar. In older people with diabetes, vitamin C in amounts greater than 300 mg per day increases the risk of death from heart disease therefore it is wiser to choose foods rich in vitamin C rather than supplements.
Highest sources of vitamin C in milligrams per 100 grams
Acerola cherries 1677.6 mg
Camu camu berries 532 mg
Rosehips 426 mg
Green chillies 242.5 mg
Guavas 228.3 mg
Yellow bell peppers 183.5 mg
Black currants 181 mg
Thyme 60.01 mg
Red chillies 143.7 mg
Drumstick pods 141 mg
Kale 130 mg
Jalapeno peppers 118.6 mg
Kiwi fruit 105.4 mg
Sun dried tomatoes 102 mg
Cloves, saffron 81 mg
Cayenne red pepper 76 mg
Mustard greens 70 mg
Cress 69 mg
Persimmons fruit 66 mg
Chilli powder (64 mg
Swede 62 mg
Basil 61 mg
Rosemary 61 mg
Chives 58 mg
Oranges 53.2 mg
Lemons 53 mg
Kumquats 43.9 mg
Watercress 43 mg
Wasabi root 41.9 mg
Kidney bean sprouts 38.7 mg
Elderberries 36 mg
Coriander 27 mg
Vitamin D: Daily exposure to sunlight can also help control diabetes because it helps produce vitamin D, which is essential for insulin production. During the winter months extra oily fish or krill oil can help to maintain vitamin D levels. Try to get 15 minutes midday sunshine on bare skin as often as it is possible. It will not work through a window or sunscreen. During in the winter months (from October to April) have a blood test to ascertain
vitamin D levels as the body can only store enough for 60 days and that is if it has had enough sun exposure.
Highest sources of vitamin D per serving listed
Krill oil - 1 teaspoon: 1000 IU
Eel - 85 g or 3 oz: 792 IU
Maitake mushrooms - 70 g: 786 IU
Rainbow trout - 85 g or 3 oz: 540 IU
Cod liver oil - 1 teaspoon: 440 IU
Mackerel - 85 g or 3 oz: 400 IU
Salmon - 85 g or 3 oz: 400 IU
Halibut - 85 g or 3 oz: 196 IU
Tuna - 85 g or 3 oz: 228 IU
Sardines - 85 g or 3 oz: 164 IU
Chanterelle mushrooms - 85 g or 3 oz: 155 IU
Egg yolk - 1 large: 41 IU
Caviar - 28g or 1 oz: 33 IU
Hemp seeds - 100 g or 3.5 oz: 22 IU
Portabella mushrooms - 85 g or 3 oz: 6 IU
NOTE:One IU is the biological equivalent of 0.3 μg or 0.3 micrograms.
Vitamin E: is often neglected when nutrients are being considered as a way to resolve health issues. People often take large doses of vitamin C as they believe this will resolve problems like colds and flu etc. but do not realise the consequences. Nickel and vitamin C share a common antagonist; vitamin E. This inhibiting effect of vitamin E is not related to the antioxidant properties of vitamin C or vice versa (both are antioxidants, so in that respect they are synergistic), but they are antagonists ratio wise to one another,
and to other chemical members: For instance, vitamin C increases iron uptake, which vitamin E inhibits. Vitamin C lowers manganese and zinc, while vitamin E helps increase manganese and zinc absorption. As a result, a very high intake of vitamin C will require an equally high intake of vitamin E to maintain the same ratio.
CAUTION: High doses of vitamin E supplements can greatly suppress blood coagulation and clotting thus increasing risk of excessive bleeding or haemorrhage. Also synthetic vitamin E is only 50% as absorbable as natural vitamin E and does not contain any tocotreinols, making it a very poor substitute for natural food sources of vitamin E.
Highest natural sources of vitamin E in milligrams per 100 grams
Zinc is the healing mineral and part of the enzymes that helps the body to metabolise protein, carbohydrates and alcohol. It is also required to transport vitamin A to the retina which is important for those with diabetes. Those drinking excess alcohol have low levels of zinc because alcohol decreases zinc absorption and increases urinary secretion of zinc. Diuretic medications also adversely affect zinc levels and if an individual ingests excessive amounts of caffeine, drugs or sugar, it is more than likely
that a zinc deficiency will develop. Cadmium found in some foods and ingested through smoking tobacco displaces zinc in the body and can lead to a deficiency. Gastrointestinal surgery, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, short bowel syndrome and other digestive diseases can all decrease zinc absorption and increase zinc loss from the body. Zinc supplements are not advised as they can upset the balance of other minerals in the body, for instance, excessive absorption of zinc can suppress copper and iron absorption.
Highest sources of zinc in milligrams per 100 grams
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