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Type 2 Diabetes --- Causes and Top
10 Natural Remedies

February 3, 2013, last updated June 25, 2016


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By Alison Turner, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist



What do actress Halle Berry, cook Paula Deen , former tennis
champion Billie Jean King, and CNN anchor Larry King have in
common besides being famous?  Unfortunately, all of them
have reportedly struggled with Type 2 diabetes -- and they are  
not alone.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
finds that 8.3% of the U.S. population (25.8 million people) has
diabetes, and that 7 million of these cases are currently
undiagnosed.   The American Diabetes Association  reports that
Type 2 diabetes is "the most common" form of diabetes. What
is Type 2 diabetes? What natural remedies exist for this
disease? Is there anything we can do about it?

What Causes Type 2 Diabetes?

In people with Type 2 diabetes, the body either does not
produce enough insulin, or the insulin that is produced is
ignored by the body's cells.  Insulin -schminsulin, you may be
thinking, but it turns out that insulin is absolutely necessary for
the body to break down sugars into energy: if insulin is unable
to take sugar from the blood and put it into cells, the long list
of Type 2 diabetes symptoms could begin to rear its ugly head.  

Complications of Type 2 diabetes range from glaucoma and
other eye problems,
numbness in the feet and hands from
neuropathy, hearing loss,  mental health complications,
increased risk of
heart disease and stroke.

If you have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, hopefully
you have specialists helping you to manage this high-
maintenance disease.  Management includes monitoring your
blood glucose, lifestyle changes, and medication.  

If you would like to try to decrease your risk for Type 2
diabetes, or to better manage its symptoms, there are several
lifestyle changes you can make.  

Check out the list below for 10 research-based lifestyle choices
that can either reduce your risk of this increasingly prevalent
disease, or to help you manage its symptoms if you already
have it.



























1.
Eat Your Breakfast to Control Type 2 Diabetes.

You’re busy, you’re late, you don’t like to eat before you can
think, breakfast reminds you of Grandma’s thick oatmeal: many
of us find excuses to skip breakfast.  However, recent research
suggests that our parents and teachers were on to something
with that lecture about breakfast being the most important
meal of the day. It turns out that men who skip breakfast may
have a higher risk for type 2 diabetes.

In 2012, a team of scientists from both the Harvard School of
Public Health and the University of Singapore, including Ranis
Mekary with the Department of Nutrition at the first,  analyzed
the associations between eating breakfast and snacking habits
and the risk of type 2 diabetes in men. Over 29,000 men
without diabetes at the beginning of the study were followed
for 16 years.  

What they found was that men who skipped breakfast had a
21% higher risk of type 2 diabetes than men who ate
breakfast. As the study concluded “breakfast omission is
associated with an increased risk” of type 2 diabetes in men.

If you struggle to get something in your stomach every
morning, try to think outside of the box of cornflakes: ever try
leftover dinner for breakfast?  Or how about fruit with some
peanut butter?  Do your future self a favor, and try to eat
breakfast whenever you can – why not start tomorrow
morning? (Read more about the
ideal breakfast to control
diabetes.)

2.
Have One Big Drink to Your Health: Or Two Small Ones.

Drinking is indulgent, or at least a peccadillo that many of us
allow ourselves, right?  Here’s some exciting news: not
necessarily!  To the contrary, research from Toronto finds that
drinking – moderately – could actually be something we
should
do, to reduce our risks for type 2 diabetes.

In 2009, Dolly Baliumas with the Centre for Addiction and
Mental Health at the University of Toronto  led a team of
experts in an investigation of the connection between alcohol
and Type 2 diabetes.  

Using the data from 20 cohort studies, they discovered that,
when compared to “lifetime abstainers,” between 22 and 24
grams of alcohol a day was “most protective” in people with
Type 2 diabetes.

However, before popping open too many bottles in celebration,
it was also clear that between 50 grams a day or more became
“deleterious.”  The team concludes that “moderate alcohol
consumption is protective for type 2 diabetes in men and
women.”

Between 22 and 24 grams of alcohol, that sounds great!  What
is that, a six pack, a bottle of wine? Be careful.  The National
Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism classifies a
“standard drink” as containing 14 grams of pure alcohol.  With
a smidgen of simple math, we see that two standard drink is,
then, already over our “protective” daily dose.  So feel good
about drinking – but only before you finish that second glass!

3.
Lose Weight --or at Least 5% of It.

Yeah, yeah, we all need to drop a few pounds.  Ever notice
how it’s easier to avoid actively losing weight when you set
vague goals, such as “a few” pounds? Do you think you’d take
the lose-weight challenge more seriously if it was set at 5% of
your current weight?  What if you knew that after you lost that
5% of your current body weight you might have reduced your
risk for diabetes?

In 2010, researchers associated with institutions all over
Finland, including Dr. Leena Moilanen with the Department of
Medicine at Kuopio University Hospital  analyzed data on the
lifestyles and outcomes from over 2,500 individuals at “high
risk” for diabetes.  

One year of follow-up data showed that the relative risk of
diabetes was 0.31 in people who lost 5% or more of body
weight – in people who gained 2.5% or more of body weight
the risk was at 1.1 when compared to people who maintained
weight.  What this means that losing just 5% of your body
weight can cut your risk of diabetes by 67%.

The team concludes that “moderate weight loss in this very
high-risk group was especially effective in reducing risk of
diabetes.”

Unfortunately, the first step of losing 5% of your body weight
is to step on the scale and figure out what 5% means -- in
pounds.  Once that target goal is set, you can start exercising
and eating healthier, so that every day could be a few ounces
off and a few protective-points gained against diabetes. (Read
more about the
ideal weight for women and normal waist size
for men and women.)

4.
Brush Your Teeth -- and Floss -- Every Day to Fight
Diabetes
.

Even for those of us who don’t know the details of type 2
diabetes, we’ve heard certain buzz words: insulin, glucose,
diet, maybe even
numb feet.  The more we hear about the
condition, however, the more it seems that diabetes does its
best to leave no part of the body untouched: even our oral
hygiene, of all practices, could impact the way type 2 diabetes
behaves.  If we neglect proper care of our mouths, bacteria
could settle into our gums potentially leading to gum disease.  
And, according to the American Diabetes Association, people
with diabetes are at a higher risk for such an outcome, as
“poor blood glucose control makes gum problems more likely.”

In 2007, C. Rattarasarn with the Department of Medicine at the
Ramathibodi Hospital in Bangkok  led a team of experts in
determining more precisely how Type 2 diabetes affects
“coronal and root surface caries” (caries is another word for
tooth decay or cavities).  The measurements of coronal and
root surface cavities, oral hygiene status, and oral health
behaviors were taken from 105 Type 2 diabetic patients and
over 100 controls.  

Results showed that diabetic patients had a “higher prevalence
of root surface caries” (at a rate of 40%, versus just over 18%
in non-diabetic patients).  More precise data lead the
researchers to conclude that type 2 diabetes is “a significant
risk factor for root surface, but not for coronal caries."

The American Diabetes Association recommends daily brushing
and flossing, and getting your teeth cleaned as least twice a
year. (Read more about
how to kill the bacteria between your
teeth.)

[Update:

Swishing sesame oil in your mouth in a practice called "pulling"
can improve the oral health and
sesame oil can also boost the
effectiveness of certain diabetes medications, scientists have
learned. ]


5.
Manage Your Diabetic Metabolism By Avoiding Periodontal
Disease
.

Whether you know the name of your dentist’s kids or haven’t
been since you were a kid, you should know about the risk of
periodontal disease.  

Periodontal disease is the infection of the gums and bone that
surround our teeth (the early stage of this is gingivitis).  If
periodontal disease progresses without treatment, the gums
may pull away from your teeth, which may then loosen or fall
out.   If you treat periodontal disease, however, you don't only
save your teeth -- you might also get your diabetic glucose
levels under control.

In 2010, Mary Cullinan at the Periodontics Sir John Walsh
Research Institute Faculty of Dentistry at the University of
Otago in New Zealand led a team of researchers  in an
investigation of "the relationship between Periodontal therapy
and glycaemic control in people with diabetes.”  

After an extensive database search, the team examined 7
studies on the topic, which revealed “some evidence of
improvement in metabolic control in people with diabetes” after
treatment for periodontal disease.

In 2013, this strong connection between periodontal disease
and diabetes was further confirmed by a study carried out by
researchers from the Diabetics Association of Bauru, Brazil and
the University of São Paolo, Brazil. This study found that having
periodontal disease makes diabetes worse
and that having
diabetes makes periodontal disease worse.

If you don’t have periodontal disease yet, but want to make
sure you don’t get it (either so that it doesn’t exacerbate your
Type 2 diabetes symptoms, or because you want to keep all
your teeth in your mouth), the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention lists several risk factors for periodontal disease.  

First, of course, you should practice good dental hygiene. Have
your teeth cleaned twice a year professionally. If you have a
history of periodontal disease, make sure the dental
professional does an examination to see if you need "scaling"
or other periodontal intervention.

In addition to maintaining good oral hygiene, try to avoid
stress, smoking, and taking medications that dry out the
mouth. (Read more about
dry mouth causes and cures.)

6.
Just a Bit of Moderate Exercise for 24 Hours of Glycemic
Control

Hyperglycemia is the complicated word for high blood sugar
(also called high blood glucose).  High blood sugar occurs
when the body has too little insulin, or when the body isn’t
using its insulin properly.  The American Diabetes Association
assures that hyperglycemia happens in all people who have
diabetes, and that when it occurs in people with Type 2
diabetes it is usually because the body is not using insulin as it
should.

In 2012, experts from various institutions in The Netherlands,
including the Department of Human Movement Sciences at
Maastricht University Medical Center,  analyzed how a “single
bout of moderate-intensity exercise” affected glycemic control
in the subsequent 24 hours in 60 Type 2 diabetic patients.  

Participants underwent 2 trials, and their glucose was closely
monitored.  Results showed that participants experienced
hyperglycemia at an average of 8 hours per day: this amount
was “reduced by 31% after the exercise bout.  

Exercise also “reduced glycemic variability.”  The team
concludes that “a single bout of moderate-intensity exercise
substantially improves glycemic control throughout the
subsequent day in insulin and non-insulin treated type 2
diabetic patients.”

While exercise may help you to maintain the next day’s glucose
level, the American Diabetes Association adamantly warns that
if your blood glucose is particularly high – above 240 mg/dl –
you should NOT exercise because you might have ketones.  If
you think your glucose levels approach 240, consult your
physician before exercising.  If, however, you regularly monitor
your glucose and do not have to worry about the dreaded 240,
give daily exercise a try – your blood sugar levels may thank
you.

7.
Lasso in Your High Blood Sugar with  Low-Glycemic Index
Foods.


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What Do You Think?
Simply following a Mediterranean diet of fish and green
vegetables can reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes
dramatically.
grilled salmon and green salad as a part of a Mediterreanean diet lowers Type 2 diabetes risk
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