A naturopath’s advice for preventing Type 2 Diabetes

Written by Gloria Cicchini | 14 July, 2020

Did you know Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) is a chronic disease which affects millions of people globally? When it’s uncontrolled, diabetes has been linked to cardiovascular disease, diseases of microcirculation as well as kidney disease. Naturopathy Senior Lecturer at Endeavour College, Gloria Cicchini, shares her top naturopathic advice for putting the odds on your side with diabetes prevention.

So, how do you get Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 Diabetes is preceded by elevations in blood sugar and insulin levels which creep up over time ­– sometimes for many years – before the full onset of the condition. Therefore early intervention and prevention is important for many.

How you can help prevent Type 2 Diabetes?

Diet

Avoid processed foods
As much as possible, avoid processed foods which contain trans fats and refined grains as well as foods and drinks with added sugar such as baked goods and soft drinks to prevent a rapid raise in blood sugar and insulin.

Choose healthier options such as fresh fruits when you need a sugar fix, wholegrain spelt or pulse pasta instead of white pasta and wholegrain brown basmati rice instead of white rice in cooking.

Add more wholegrains
When baking, swap white flour in recipes out for a blend of almond meal and wholegrain flours. I use a 50:50 mix in most recipes. Wholegrain versions of foods are a complex blend of carbohydrates, fibre and protein which the body breaks down slower than it does with the processed versions of these foods. Therefore the carbohydrate portion of the food is released as sugar into the blood stream much slower, reducing the amount of insulin the body needs to make at any one time.

Ditch the sugary drinks
Sugary drinks are the biggest culprit for a rapid raise in blood sugar, as they are pure sugar without the balancing effect of fibre, fat or protein. Swap sugary drinks for soda water with fresh fruit slices.

Avoid artificial chemicals
Studies have linked endocrine disrupting chemicals to metabolic disease such as Type 2 Diabetes.

Add more fibre to your diet
Eat a high fibre diet full of colourful fruits and vegetables. Fibre helps control your blood sugar and is also an excellent fuel source for your beneficial gut bacteria. Having a balanced gut microbiome helps protect you from metabolic disease such as Type 2 Diabetes. Gut bacteria can contribute to sugar cravings, therefore feeding beneficial types of bacteria will crowd out sugar craving bacteria which can help reduce sugar cravings. Additionally, fibre helps us feel fuller for longer and plays a role in the prevention of overeating.

Lifestyle

Avoid artificial fragrances in personal care
Choose products which are naturally fragranced with essential oils and choose products which are paraben and phythalate free.

Check your local health food shop out for some great brands. Another way to avoid environmental chemicals is to check out the environmental working groups annual list of fruits and vegetables with higher pesticide residues, which you may want to buy as organic or give an extra thorough wash in bicarb, water and vinegar.

Exercise regularly
Exercise helps improve your cells ability to be sensitive to insulin. Your cells slowly become insulin resistant in the prediabetes years. Many studies support the role of exercise in the prevention and management of Type 2 Diabetes.

Practice mindful eating
Only eat when you're hungry and stop when you are full. Chew food and appreciate it at each meal and avoid mindless eating in front of the television. Become aware of when you are eating out of boredom or for emotional reasons. What can you do instead of eat? Perhaps getting some counselling to help you work through emotional overeating will help if you identify this pattern in yourself.

Vitamin D
Lastly, get some sunshine every day or take a Vitamin D supplement if your blood test shows low levels. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to Type 2 Diabetes in various studies.


Gloria Cicchini

Gloria is a qualified Naturopath and Life Coach who has worked in varied roles within the Natural Medicine industry for the past 23 years. Currently, Gloria is based in Perth, where she runs a Naturopathic Consultancy specialising in Herbal and Nutritional interventions as well as dietary modification to improve learning and behaviour in children with behavioural disorders.

When not consulting, Gloria is the Senior Lecturer at the Endeavour College of Natural Medicine, Perth Campus, where she pursues another passion; teaching and inspiring the up and coming movers and shakers in the Natural Medicine field.

She believes that food is medicine. Every time you eat, you are given the opportunity to either nourish and feed your body and prevent illness, or are given the opportunity to move towards disease by eating processed, packaged foods filled with sugar and artificial ingredients. She also advocates yoga, meditation and mindfulness as a therapy to help balance our hectic lives and schedules.

Read more by Gloria Cicchini

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