The amount of conflicting information surrounding type 2 diabetes can be overwhelming – especially if you’ve just been diagnosed.
Which medication is best? Will you be on medications for the rest of your life? What about side effects?
These are all valid questions, but before we get into all that, let’s answer the answer that will change your life: type 2 diabetes is a completely reversible condition (1).
This fact may come as a shock, especially most mainstream medical doctors usually recommended an endless array of medications to “manage” the condition.
Drugs vs. Lifestyle Changes
What they haven’t done is dive into the root of the problem, where the cure also awaits.
The reason for this is simple: the pharmaceutical industry survives through … well … the consumption of pharmaceuticals.
Just like any business, they naturally want to sell more product to increase revenue. In addition, they also dislike competition, especially if it’s free (aka: natural remedies).
Now, a novel can be written about this, and probably has, but this basically is akin to covering up natural ways to reverse type 2 diabetes by health care professionals. Either that, or not knowing about them.
To escape the pharmaceutical cage, we’ll be looking at how simple lifestyle changes can reverse type 2 diabetes.
However, first let’s see how diabetes develops, so we can then understand how these cures for diabetes work.
What it Means to Have Type 2 Diabetes
A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes simply means there’s too much sugar floating in your bloodstream, and the built-in mechanism for removing it isn’t working properly.
Normally during the digestive process, the food you eat is broken down into sugar molecules that end up in your bloodstream. Once that sugar enters the blood, your body sends the hormone insulin to pull the sugar molecules out of your blood and into your cells to be used or stored as energy.
But with type 2 diabetes, sugar can’t enter the cells due to an effect called insulin resistance, which is brought on by a high-sugar diet that keeps dumping sugar into the bloodstream.
This leads to chronically high blood sugar levels, which of course then leads to the type 2 diagnosis.
Your Cells vs. Insulin
The problem with mainstream doctors and pharmaceuticals is that they prescribe more insulin to deal with the issue.
This doesn’t take it account the fact it’s actually the cells that are refusing entry to the sugar molecules.
Cells begin to behave this way when they’ve been repeatedly exposed to massive amounts of sugar entering the blood stream from processed foods.
Eventually, due to the damaging effects of all that sugar – and the fact that there’s more sugar in the bloodstream than the cell would ever need – cells begin to bar the entry of sugar molecules.
So how can we reverse this effect and get our cells responding again?
Read on to discover natural remedies for curing diabetes.
One of the Best (Free!) Cures for Diabetes
What if I told you that something as simple as flexing a group of your muscles – and holding them flexed – can cure type 2 diabetes?
You might be shaking your head.
But it’s true: isometric contractions, which involves contracting your muscles without moving them, are one of the simplest ways to make your body more receptive to removing sugar from the bloodstream.
This is because exercise has the same effect on cells as insulin (2).
Insulin, as we talked about earlier, pulls molecules of sugar out blood and brings them toward cells for absorption.
But with type 2 diabetes, cells resist the insulin, refusing to “open up” and receive the sugar.
Here’s the cool thing: exercise stimulates something called the GLUT4 transporter – which signals cells to open and receive energy, just like insulin, allowing sugar to be shuttled inside.
When Being Tense Is Good
This is fantastic news, as even standing isometric contractions, where you contract every muscle in your body, is a form of exercise.
Even if you’re standing completely still, this form of contraction – where you flex or “tense” up your muscles – will make the muscles more sensitive to sugar uptake.
Plus, this kind of exercise is convenient and helpful if you have joint problems or other issues that prevent intense exercise.
However, it is still recommended to walk every day, at minimum, to reap the diabetes-curing effect of exercise.
And, if you can exercise at a higher intensity, all the better, as studies have shown that the higher the intensity, the more glucose gets shuttled into the cells and used, thus producing a greater effect (3).
Overcoming Type 2 Diabetes Naturally with Diet
Since we know the onset of type 2 diabetes is fueled by high refined sugar intake, we also know that eliminating excess sugar from the diet can also reverse it.
Yes, it’s challenging to avoid sugar – especially when you’re surrounded by convenient (and tasty) processed treats. But with some planning, you can take steps to stay on the path to diabetes reversal.
Protein, Healthy Fats, and Fiber
This is especially true when it comes to breakfast, as having starchy carbohydrates with no protein first thing in the morning interferes with cortisol – which naturally is highest in the morning.
One of cortisol’s roles is to break down sugar, and by providing it with an overload, we end up with high cortisol levels.
This can lead to a whole bunch of issues including behavioral problems, adrenal stress, and gaining belly fat (4).
Foods high in protein and healthy fats include avocados, wild-caught fish, grass-fed beef, turkey, and chicken, eggs, nuts and seeds, and olive and coconut oil.
It also helps to pair these protein and fat foods with natural sugar sources, like starchy vegetables, whole, gluten-free grains, and fruits. They help stabilize blood sugar levels and minimize insulin spikes.
For example, a balanced meal could be a berry smoothie with half an avocado, apple slices with quinoa, or hummus with veggies and slices of turkey or chicken.
Coconut Flour Pancakes via Fit Foodie Finds
Want more high-protein recipe ideas? Check out this post.
Foods that are high in fiber also slow down sugar’s release into the bloodstream.
Getting plenty of it in natural foods helps us avoid blood sugar spikes, and cuts down the amount of free-flowing sugar that leads to insulin resistance.
Foods high in fiber include dark leafy greens, lentils, beans, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Keep in mind when choosing fruits to go for low-sugar varieties, like berries and apples.
Bowl of Lentil Curry via Yuri Elkaim
Try these recipes:
- This Is the Easiest Curried Lentils Recipe You’ll Ever Make
- 17 Easy Garbanzo Bean Salad Recipes When You Need to Eat Fast
- A Healthy Make-Ahead Enchilada Bake You Need to Be Making
Avoid Flour and Limit Grains
White flour is heavily processed – and it breaks down fast into the bloodstream. While it may seem okay in moderation, research has shown that even with an overall healthy diet, the addition of white flour raises your risk for diabetes and many other preventable diseases (5).
That’s one of the reasons I recommend going gluten-free, and instead choosing whole grains such as quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, brown rice, or wild rice.
However, keep in mind that while these grains cause less of a blood sugar spike, they are still a sugar source and should be limited to once per day.
Bowl of Vegetarian Bibimbap via Yuri Elkaim
Recipes to try:
Try Nut Milk Products
Most commercial, low-fat dairy products contain added sugar, which can lead to blood sugar spikes.
Unsweetened nut milks, such as almond or coconut milk, offer healthy fats and protein, while lacking the excess sugar and artificial hormones found in processed dairy milk. Be sure to read labels, though, because some brands do sneak in sugar and additives.
Better yet, make you own nut milks!
Healthy Kitchen, Healthy Body
Now that you have an idea of what foods to include in your diet, it’s important to keep your kitchen filled with these while also removing “tempting” treats that will wreak havoc on your blood sugar.
If you’re craving something sweet, look into creating healthy alternatives at home using a natural sweetener. Stevia has no glycemic index (meaning it has zero effect on blood sugar) and works well in baked goods, coffee, and teas.
Also, consider using a nut flour, such as almond flour, to bake high protein, low-sugar muffins or cookies.
When you’re on the hunt for a quick fix, stick to two squares of very dark (85 percent) chocolate.
With that being said, it’s a good idea to prepare meals ahead of time, especially if you’re busy and tend to grab food on the go. This will ensure you stick to whole foods and kick excuses to the curb.
A good plan is to choose a day on the weekend to prep your meals and snacks for the week ahead.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is an inexpensive, accessible product that has a myriad of benefits – from supporting weight loss to lowering cholesterol and reducing inflammation.
Another key benefit is that it reduces the glycemic load of foods. Remember that the glycemic index measures the “spike” in blood sugar a particular food causes, which is normally high in starchy carb and sugar foods.
ACV helps to blunt this spike. Try consuming a couple teaspoons in a glass of water before your meals – or try this soda recipe of mine.
Raw Potato Starch
Raw potato starch is a super affordable, lesser-known product that is powerful in helping reverse type 2 diabetes.
It works due to its high levels of resistant starch; a starch that is not digested by the body, but is consumed readily by the good bacteria, or probiotics, in our guts.
The reason we want to feed these probiotics is because research has shown a strong correlation between dysbiosis, or imbalanced gut bacteria, and obesity and type 2 diabetes (6).
You can find raw potato starch in any health food or grocery store.
Carrot Cake Smoothie via Yuri Elkaim
It can easily be added to smoothies (like this Carrot Cake smoothie) and other dishes.
Building New Habits
Of course, none of these strategies for reversing type 2 diabetes will be effective without commitment.
While preparing your meals ahead of time and keeping your pantry sugar-free will go a long way in helping you stay on track, it will be your level of dedication that will keep you from, say, digging into that box of doughnuts at the office.
By taking control of these temptations and knowing that they’re responsible for a host of other diseases along with diabetes, you’ll be on the path to reversing your condition for good.
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Yuri Elkaim is one of the world’s most trusted health and fitness experts. A former pro soccer player turned NYT bestselling author of The All-Day Energy Diet and The All-Day Fat Burning Diet, his clear, science-backed advice has transformed the lives of more than 500,000 men and women and he’s on a mission to help 100 million people by 2040. Read his inspiring story, “From Soccer to Bed to No Hair on My Head” that started it all.