Type 1 diabetes is one of the most common genetically inherited metabolic disorders that occurs due to failure of the immune system to differentiate between self and non-self cells. As a result, the pancreatic beta cells, which are the primary producers of insulin, are mistaken as foreign bodies and destroyed by the immune system.
This leads to a life-long dependency on insulin injections and makes an individual far more susceptible to cardiovascular diseases, retinopathy, diabetic ketoacidosis, liver damage, kidney failure and coma or death, if left untreated.
However, a healthy lifestyle including regular physical activity and mindful eating, which involves the consumption of the right set of foods and avoiding certain foods that are detrimental for your health can help you keep your blood sugar levels under control to a great extent.
Moreover, keeping a track of how you plan, prepare and eat foods can significantly lower the dosage of insulin to be administered daily, thus helping you lead a healthy and a happy life. Considering the number of unwanted side effects that are associated with pharmaceuticals drugs and medical treatments used to treat Type 1 diabetes, natural ways serve as the best alternative for curing this debilitating disorder, some of which have been listed below.
Natural Ways To Cure Typ1 Diabetes
Foods To Combat Type 1 Diabetes
A diabetic patient should stay extremely vigilant about the quantity of carbohydrates being consumed daily to determine the correct insulin regimen to be followed.
Since, simple carbohydrates are the main culprits behind raising glucose levels in the bloodstream, it is crucially important for diabetic patients to avoid high glycemic index foods like starchy foods, sugary cereals, potatoes, high fat containing dairy products, cornflakes and pastas.
Whole Grain Foods
Enriched with chromium and fiber, whole grain products like whole grain or wheat bread, brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain barley, millets and sorghum are very beneficial for controlling sudden spikes in blood sugar levels.
High fiber content of whole grains prevents fluctuations in blood sugar levels by stabilizing them. Also, they are rich in complex carbohydrates that do not break down as quickly as simple carbohydrates, thereby reducing the need of insulin by the body.
Termed as a “diabetes super food” by American Diabetes Association, blueberries are rich in powerful anti-oxidants called polyphenols that play a pivotal role in protecting against cardiovascular diseases associated with Type 1 diabetes.
Researchers have shown an increase in insulin sensitivity and a reduction in weight in diabetic patients who consumed blueberry extracts on a regular basis. In addition, blueberries have been reported to lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure and plasma oxidized LDL levels that serve as primary risk factors of heart diseases.
Leaner sources of meat like chicken, turkey and fish help you lower your intake of saturated fats that can put you at a higher risk of heart diseases, which is one of the most life-threatening consequences of diabetes.
Fish like tuna, salmon, cod, halibut and herring is loaded with good fats or omega-3 fatty acids and are very low in carbohydrates. They not only lower the risk of heart failure, but also improve the functionality of kidneys, thus preventing diabetic ketoacidosis in patients suffering from Type 1 diabetes.
The number one killer of diabetes is heart disease and hence it is important to cut back on the percentage of calories consumed through fat. Although this sounds difficult, one can replace saturated fats with poly and mono-unsaturated fats that are broken down at a much faster rate in the body.
Olive oil is enriched with good fats that aid in speeding up the metabolism of triglycerides and prevent the accumulation of glucose in the bloodstream. Besides keeping the glucose levels under control, good fats and powerful anti-oxidants found in olive oil also help maintain cholesterol levels under control, thus exerting a cardio protective effect.
In addition to containing very low quantity of carbohydrates, broccoli provides the added benefits of increasing the amounts of vitamin A, C and D and mineral contents that in turn, speed up the metabolism of sugars in the body.
A study conducted in 2008 and published in the journal “Diabetes” confirmed the presence of compounds called sulforaphanes in broccoli, which are known for their ability to induce the production of enzymes that protect blood vessels from getting damaged due to the elevated levels of glucose in the blood.
Broccoli contains the highest contents of phyto-nutrients that protect against oxidative damage, thereby lowering the risk of developing other long-term risks associated with diabetes. However, one should consume dark green vegetables like broccoli immediately after buying, since its nutrient value decreases when stored in the refrigerator for a long time.
Citrus fruits like oranges, mandarins, grapefruit and lemon are rich in a wide range of nutrients like vitamins, fiber, minerals, pectin and flavonoids that protect against free radical damage.
In addition, high vitamin C content in citrus fruits also helps to ward off free radicals that not only cause disturbances in glucose metabolism, but are also responsible for the subsequent complications of Type 1 diabetes. Researchers have shown that citrus extracts contain compounds that slow down the uptake of glucose from foods and inhibit its movement into the intestine and liver, thus preventing a sudden elevation in glucose levels in the blood.
However, in order to preserve the vitality of the essential nutrients required for normalizing blood sugar levels, it is important to avoid canned food and buy fresh or frozen foods.
Regular physical activity not only helps you keep your blood sugar levels within the normal range, but also allows you to maintain a healthy weight and improve the quality of your life.
Moderate aerobic exercise, walking, swimming, jogging, running or cycling for about 30 minutes for 4-5 days a week has been found to improve insulin sensitivity and suppress your craving for sugar laden foods like candies, cookies, sodas, pastries, cakes, pancakes, raisins, white rice, white flour that spike your blood sugar levels instantly.
Besides mimicking the role of insulin in facilitating the transport of glucose into the cells, exercise also strengthens muscles, joints and bones, thus allowing diabetic patients to overcome myopathies (weakening of muscles), neuropathies (nerve damage) and lower limb amputations. In addition, physical activity reduces stress, which acts as a major trigger for raising blood sugar levels.
By improving the metabolism of cholesterol and lowering blood pressure, exercise also enables you to prevent cardiovascular diseases, which is very common among diabetic patients.
Being one of the most ancient Chinese medical treatments, acupuncture has been found to be very beneficial in managing the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes like stress, fatigue, weight gain or loss, appetite, excessive passage of urine and thirst. In addition to controlling blood sugar levels, triggering acupuncture points on the body improves blood circulation, maintains healthy functioning of pancreas and kidneys and preserves nerves, thus preventing the occurrence of peripheral neuropathies.
To sum it up, consumption of low glycemic index foods and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle can considerably lower your risk of developing diabetes and its related long-term complications.
Also, it is important to ensure that you have 5-6 frequent and small meals and exercise every day to reduce the burden on your pancreas to produce excess of insulin. Furthermore, you should limit your carbohydrate intake to 15 grams a day and discuss about any changes you make in your lifestyle with your doctor to help them decide on an appropriate insulin regimen suitable to treat your condition.