How to reverse diabetes

How to Reverse Diabetes Naturally: 10 Lifestyle Changes to Make

How to Reverse Diabetes Naturally: 10 Lifestyle Changes to Make

One in 10 Americans has diabetes. But did you know that in some cases, diabetes is reversible? 

Getting a diabetes diagnosis doesn’t have to be the end of a healthy, happy lifestyle, it can be a blessing that sets you on the right path to optimal wellness. How to reverse diabetes? It’s as simple as what you eat and how you move. 

This guide will give you the resources you need to get on the path to reversing your diabetes today! 

Type 1 vs. Type 2 Diabetes, Which is Reversible?

There are two types of diabetes, and they both involve the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar. In the body, sugar takes the name glucose, and glucose is the energy source that feeds your cells and ultimately allows them to function.

But, the only way glucose can enter cells is by hitching a ride on the hormone insulin. People with diabetes struggle to produce the right amounts of insulin to support this natural, and vital process. 

People with type 1 diabetes cannot make insulin. There is no cure for type 1 diabetes, and it requires both medical and lifestyle management to live a happy and healthy life. 

With type 2 diabetes, a person’s body struggles to respond correctly to it, which can cause someone to become insulin deficient. Excessive weight, an inactive lifestyle and poor eating choices are all associated with people who develop type 2 diabetes.

The good news is that type 2 diabetes is completely reversible. 

Say No to (Most) Sugar

Processed sugar might be one of those ingredients that future generations look back on and wonder how it was ever legal to sell without (at least) a warning label. Processed sugar is associated with many health problems, diabetes being one of the more serious on the list. 

Different studies have found that processed sugar links directly and indirectly to developing diabetes. 

Processed sugar has over 50 tricky names on food labels! Some include high fructose corn syrup, maltose, dextrose, and rice syrup. A list of 50 plus names might feel impossible to memorize at first, but it will quickly become second nature as you start to implement it into your lifestyle. 

Refined sugars aren’t only in candy and deserts, they lurk in cereals, condiments, bread, and pasta too. If you don’t want to do the research, it’s best to stick to whole, natural foods instead of packaged ones. 

Natural sugar from fruit is safe to eat but with moderation. 

Ditch Processed Foods

It might not be the health hack you want to hear, but processed foods aren’t good for you. They might be easy, quick and delicious, but if you’re serious about reversing the effects of diabetes, you’ve got to cut them out of your diet. 

Processed foods are often high in sugar, “bad” fats, and calories, which contributes to all of the leading causes of developing type 2 diabetes. It’s best to limit processed food intake to near nonexistent and to opt for whole foods instead. There are a few ways to judge if a food is processed or not:

  1. Ask yourself if the item looks like it did when it was grown or born. A burger does not resemble a baby cow, and french fries are a far cry from an earthy potato. If the food looks wildly different than it is in its natural state, it’s likely processed. 
  2. Use the five ingredients rule. Unless a packaged item like a multi-bean mixture for a soup needs to have more the five ingredients, it shouldn’t. If you’re looking at a label with a laundry list of ingredients, there’s a good chance the food is processed. 
  3. Can you spell out the ingredients? With items that actually justify lengthy ingredients, read through the ingredients and ask yourself if you can pronounce them, and know what they are. Foods that contain a lot of chemical ingredients instead of whole foods like “almond” and “garlic” are likely processed. 

Go Plant-Based 

Most of the ethos to reversing diabetes revolves around the similar lifestyle choices of a plant-based person. Eating clean, removing meat and eating more produce are all cornerstones to reversing diabetes type 2. 

There are many reports of people who have suffered from type 2 diabetes, who were able to ditch their diabetes medications and start feeling great again after only a few months of plant-based eating. 

There’s also a lot of growing science that supports the fact that a plant-based diet can have a profound impact on the diagnosis and management of type 2 diabetes. Studies found that the specific nutrients and vitamins gained from a plant-based diet help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and can lessen the symptoms for those already diagnosed.

Work It Out 

Losing excess body weight is one of the primary ways to stop, and reverse the progression of type 2 diabetes. With just a little bit more activity in your life, you can drastically change your life for the better. 

Before you start on a fitness journey, it’s first important to distinguish a lifestyle change from a “diet” or a temporary fitness program. The mindset behind both approaches is often what sets people up for success or failure before they even start getting active. 

Especially when dealing with a serious health condition, it’s important to make the commitment to change your lifestyle. This entails taking an honest and realistic look at your life, what you can successfully manage, and setting goals that you are able to accomplish. 

When choosing a fitness routine, don’t expect to go from couch potato to gym rat overnight. But also know that if you never become a gym rat, that it’s okay not to be. If you’re a parent that works full-time and has three kids, you might only be able to make time for a 30-minute workout class on YouTube every morning, and that’s awesome! 

Choose something that you like doing, and understand that finding the type of fitness you enjoy and a routine may take some time. There will be ups and downs, and there will be some weeks you work out more or less than others. 

It’s a journey, and it’s never-ending. This is why it’s important to track your progress by weighing yourself, taking basic body measurements and progress photos at least once every month. With a lifestyle change progress will be more subtle, so tracking your progress will help you see your actual progress, even when you feel like you’re not making any. 

Experts agree that 30 minutes of physical activity every day is the minimum requirement for being considered “healthy.” This can be 30 minutes of yoga, walking, HITT, a spin class or any form of exercise that gets you moving and makes you feel good. 

Manage Your Stress 

Stress is a silent killer. When your body enters a fight or flight zone, it ups the production of a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is nicknamed the “stress hormone” and it can wreak havoc on the body when left unchecked. 

Cortisol spikes can cause hormonal imbalances when they happen consistently, and interfere with insulin levels, which is especially concerning for people with diabetes.

Cortisol causes the body to flood itself with glucose, which might sound like a good thing for people who struggle with deficiency. But constant flooding and withdrawal of glucose can be especially damaging to people with diabetes during the withdrawal state since they struggle to meet the body’s minimum requirements in the first place. 

This can create severe hormonal imbalances and extra storage of glucose in the body which can make you fat. Cortisol spikes also increase a person’s cravings for sugary foods, which when acted upon, can also contribute to excessive weight gain. 

Consider Taking Supplements 

There are a lot of “natural remedies” claiming to help reverse type 2 diabetes. Every claim doesn’t have the research to back it up, but some do. 

  • Cinnamon is actually well researched for helping the body better respond to insulin.  In some studies, it was found to decrease a person’s blood sugar levels by 20 percent. You can start by simply adding more cinnamon to your diet. Add organic, unprocessed cinnamon to oatmeal, curries or drink it as a tea. Cinnamon can also be taken as a supplement. 
  • Studies on probiotics have found that their anti-inflammatory effects can actually actually decrease blood sugar levels. One report even found that probiotics like L. acidophilus, L. rhamnosus and B. bifidum could actually prevent damage to the pancreas caused by diabetes. 
  • Vitamin D deficiency is believed to cause a higher risk of a person developing type 2 diabetes. Vitamin D supports the pancreas and its production of insulin, so by taking a Vitamin D supplement, you can further support your body’s natural production of insulin. Get more Vitamin D by getting more sun (during safe times and with the right protection), from foods or from a supplement. 
  • Some studies have found that low Magnesium levels and type 2 diabetes are often correlated. Magnesium is involved in the body’s production of insulin, specifically how it moves and functions within the tissue. Taking a magnesium supplement can help motivate the body’s natural system. Magnesium comes in many forms, but one of the most popular is via powder that’s mixed with a drink. It often comes in fruity flavors and has a distinctive taste.
  • Green tea contains an antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) that has many health benefits. For people with diabetes, it’s specifically believed to help the body better manage glucose levels and improve insulin activity. You can simply drink organic green tea, or take it as a supplement. 
  • Resveratrol has been popular in anti-aging products, due to its unique antioxidant make-up. But another benefit is that it can actually help decrease blood sugar levels. Resveratrol can be taken as a supplement, or found naturally in grapes and wine 
  • Aloe Vera is one of nature’s miracle plants. It’s used in everything from skincare, to medicinal purposes and aiding with digestion. However, newer studies point to the succulent having specific benefits for people with type 2 diabetes. Some research found that Aloe can protect and actually fix the cells in the pancreas responsible for producing insulin. Aloe can be drunk in juice or gel form or taken as a supplement. 

How to Reverse Diabetes Now? A Step-By-Step Guide 

It’s important to set realistic expectations for yourself that are achievable, but also push you to change. It’s better to take baby steps towards your lifestyle goal than to expect drastic change overnight. 

Slowly adding activity to your lifestyle, and decreasing the number of unhealthy foods you consume is a great starting place. 

Start by adding 30 minutes of any physical activity to your routine one time every week, in addition to eliminating a specific food or ingredient. Like “soda” or “high fructose corn syrup.” Or maybe cut back on the number of meals you eat out and increase the number of meals you eat at home. 

It takes 66 days of consistently acting on behavior to create an automatic habit. Consider making another small change towards your lifestyle goal as frequently as you are able to successfully undertake it. 

In the beginning, maybe it will take you a full two months to feel comfortable and “ready” to add more activity and omit more foods. Maybe after one or three weeks, you’ll feel ready. 

Consistency and tracking progress are the keys to how to reverse diabetes. 

The Truth About Reversing Diabetes 

Diabetes 2 is a manageable and reversible disease to anyone who is willing to make the commitment to change. Some have referred to diabetes 2 as more of a lifestyle disease than one caused by physiology or genetics. 

Whether you’ve just been diagnosed, or have been living with diabetes 2 unhappily for years, it’s never too late to make a change! 

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