The key components of a healthy lifestyle are to not smoke or drink excessive amounts of alcohol; get enough sleep each night; and engage in regular physical activity and relaxation exercise. Increased physical activity, whether from structured exercise or physical labor, offers protection against the development of type 2 diabetes. The entire body benefits from regular exercise largely as a result of improved cardiovascular and respiratory function. Exercise enhances the transport of oxygen and nutrients of carbon dioxide into cells. Exercise also enhances the transport of carbon dioxide and waste products from the tissues of the body to the bloodstream and ultimately to the eliminative organs. Exercise is clearly one of the most powerful medicines available.
Controlled studies on children’s food choices have consistently shown that children exposed to advertising choose advertised food products at significantly higher rates than do those not exposed. It is recommended that by turning off the television, limiting the time your child watches television, and tuning more into your own life, one can lose weight.
In addition to causing daytime drowsiness, cardiovascular disease, mood and memory disturbances, impotence, and car wrecks, sleep disorders also promote insulin resistance. Sleep plays a prominent role in hormone regulation, including the hormones that regulate blood sugar levels. Sleep disorders that are especially stressful to blood sugar control mechanisms are those associated with sleep-disordered breathing, but even snoring is linked to poor glucose regulation. Even more problematic than snoring is sleep apnea, the most common example of sleep-disordered breathing. It is most often caused when an excess amount of fatty tissue accumulates in the airway and narrows it. Early recognition and treatment of sleep apnea is important because it is associated not only with an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, but also:
- marked daytime fatigue
- irregular heartbeat
- high blood pressure
- heart attack
- loss of memory function
The USDA serves two conflicting roles in which they represent the food industry and being in charge of educating consumers about nutrition. The food pyramid was designed to promote the USDA agenda of supporting multinationalagrafoods giants. One of the main criticisms of the Food Guide Pyramid is that it does not stress strongly enough the importance of quality food choices. The Food Guide Pyramid does not take into consideration the glycemic index of foods. There are two versions of the glycemic index. One uses glucose scored as 100, while the other uses white bread; the foods are then tested against the results of the selected. The non-USDA version incorporates the best from two of the most healthful diets ever studied – the traditional Mediterranean diet and the traditional Asian diet. The key principles of the diet program are:
- avoid high-calorie, low-nutrient foods
- eat a “rainbow” of fruits and vegetables
- reduce the intake of meat and animal products
- eat the right types of fats
A vast number of substances found in fruits and vegetables are known to promote health. These substances may include antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin C and folic acid and a group of other compounds known as phytochemicals, which include pigments such as carotenes, chlorophyll, and flavonoids; dietary fiber; enzymes; vitamin-like compounds; and other minor dietary constituents.
Keep in mind that the higher your intake of meat and other animal products, the higher your risk of every major chronic degenerative condition, including diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Meat lacks the antioxidants and phytochemicals that protect us from cancer; it contains lots of saturated fat and other potentially harmful compounds such as pesticide residues, heterocyclic amines, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which form when meat is grilled, fried, or boiled.
Olive oil is valued for its protection against heart disease. It lowers the harmful LDL cholesterol and increases the level of protective HDL cholesterol. It also protects against free radical damage and has been proven to contribute to better control of the elevated blood triglyceride levels that are so common in diabetes. Olive oil is extremely versatile. It enriches the taste of fish, pasta, and vegetables. It can also be used as the base of a salad dressing and as a dip to give bread flavor. Omega-6 vegetable oils such as sunflower, grapeseed, soy, corn, and safflower should be avoided. Omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, and halibut are considered the right type of oils to ingest. Fish intake should be limited to no more than 2 pounds per week (four 8-ounce servings per week maximum). Coconut oil contains short-and medium- chain triglycerides. The saturated fats in animal products are long-chain triglycerides.
The term green drinks refers to green tea and a number of commercially available products containing dehydrated barley grass, wheat grass, or algae sources such as chlorella or spirulina. These are exceptionally high in nutritional value.
Part 6: Monitoring Diabetes
Recommended reading: How to Prevent and Treat Diabetes with Natural Medicine (Michael Murray, N.D., Michael Lyon, M.D.)