Recently, I saw an advertisement in the Los Angeles Times for a popular medication used to lower hemoglobin A1C, a long-term measure of blood sugar. The ad reads, “If you have type 2 diabetes, your A1C number may be going in the wrong direction. To help change it, ask your doctor if adding Tradjenta may be right for you”. Of course, if you read on you’ll also notice warnings about possible side effects, including cough, diarrhea, potentially life threatening inflammation of the pancreas, runny nose and sore throat. Still, lowering high blood sugar is a valuable endeavor for diabetics and pre-diabetics alike. So, what to do? To answer that question, here are a few suggestions by Dr. Richard Bernstein, a pioneering maverick in the field of integrative-diabetes care, and current studies from the medical literature.
Tags: Fiber, Flax, Ginger
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Diabetes, Food and Drink | 2 Comments
What does it feel like to be surrounded by 67,000 members of the natural health community? On most days, I couldn’t possibly tell you. But, a little over a week ago, that’s exactly where I found myself – at the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California. It’s quite an experience! There were over 2,600 exhibitors and dozens of educational presentations. Thankfully, I brought along my most comfortable walking shoes (Sanuks), a big appetite for all of the sampling and, most importantly, Team Healthy Fellow!
Tags: Cashews, Grassfed, Kefir
Posted in Diabetes, Food and Drink, Nutrition | 8 Comments
Many of us have a basic idea about prudent dietary choices and the health effects they typically produce. For example, if you eat large quantities of low-glycemic fruits and non-starchy vegetables, it’s unlikely that you’ll develop constipation, diabetes and obesity. Conversely, if your diet is loaded with processed foods, your cardiovascular, digestive system and waist line will almost certainly suffer the consequences. But, what you may not know is that there are a few recently discovered, practical ways of applying these old nutritional adages to their greatest advantage.
Tags: aging, Cooking, Liver
Posted in Diabetes, Food and Drink, Nutrition | No Comments;
Tagatose is a sweetener currently making its way onto the U.S. market. And, I want you to know more about it before it starts showing up in your local health food stores and markets. Personally, I’m interested in tagatose because it’s all natural, low glycemic and may even impart some significant health benefits. In addition, it’s a prebiotic, meaning that it selectively promotes the growth of healthy gut bacteria. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in as well, look for products with names like PreSweet and Tagatesse.
Tags: Cholesterol, Insulin, Sugar
Posted in Diabetes, Diet and Weight Loss, Nutrition | 3 Comments
At this very moment, my opinion about honey is in a profound state of flux. On the one hand, I’m well aware that honey contains a relatively high percentage of fructose – a form of sugar that has increasingly been linked to adverse health consequences, such as fatty liver disease and obesity. But, why is it that so many learned, holistic advocates recommend it and use it in recipes? I believe I’ve figured out the reason why and have now come to terms with the rightful place honey ought to hold in my own diet.
Tags: Honey, Luo Han Guo, Stevia
Posted in Diabetes, Diet and Weight Loss, Food and Drink | 3 Comments
Recently, a Persian reader of this site relayed a positive testimonial about a traditional drink from his homeland called “sour tea”. When I was listening to his account of how he used this tart, vibrantly colored beverage to avert diabetes and high blood pressure, I thought to myself – sour tea? It sounds sort of familiar, but I can’t place it. As it turns out, sour tea is the commonly used name in Iran for hibiscus tea. The next question that popped into my mind was whether this gentleman’s experience could be bolstered and substantiated by reviewing the medical literature.
Tags: Hibiscus, High Blood Pressure, Tea
Posted in Diabetes, Food and Drink, Heart Health | 2 Comments
Sometimes solutions for modern day problems can be found be revisiting the past. For instance, the Incan and Roman empires were both well acquainted with an ancient food source collectively known as lupins. In North America, Native Americans also utilized lupin kernels as a traditional ingredient. Today, lupin based products are enjoying a resurgence because they supply certain dietary components which may be useful in managing diabetes, heart disease and obesity. What’s more, the spotlight on lupins has expanded beyond theoretical benefits. Over the past few decades, researchers have decided to scientifically test the health effects of lupin flour in various at-risk populations.
Tags: Food and Drink, Low Carb, Nutrition
Posted in Diabetes, Diet and Weight Loss, Heart Health | 2 Comments
Cost is one of the most popular excuses used to avoid good health practices. In some instances, there’s a kernel of truth to the assertion that money assists with the promotion of wellness. A few examples include greater access to medical care and a wider array of alternative and complementary therapies. On the other hand, exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep and stress management are usually completely free of charge. This past week, researchers from Kansas State University (KSU) added one additional, 100% free activity that just might save your life while, at the same time, lower projected health care spending. According to Dr. Richard Rosenkrantz, of KSU, “We know that with very high confidence that more physically active people do better with regard to chronic disease compared with less physically active people, but we should also be looking at reducing sitting”.
Tags: Diet and Weight Loss, High Blood Pressure
Posted in Diabetes, Exercise, Heart Health | No Comments;
Over the last few years, coconut sugar has become a serious contender in the natural sweetener market. According to proponents, it’s an environmentally sustainable sweetener with several advantages over common “table” sugar. For starters, it’s a rich source of the essential mineral potassium. Beyond that, coconut sugar also prominently features inulin, a prebiotic carbohydrate with a very low glycemic index that may support digestive and immunological health.
Tags: Coconut, Inulin, Sugar
Posted in Diabetes, Food and Drink, Nutrition | 2 Comments
Today’s column is a response to the first health related question that was posed to me in 2013. During a recent consultation, a client inquired about the relative merits of an antioxidant compound commonly known as alpha lipoic acid. She noted that it’s frequently cited as one of the more potent antioxidants because it supposedly works in concert with other free radical scavengers such as glutathione and vitamins C and E. A recent review in Frontiers in Ethnopharmacology, a prestigious medical journal, supports this claim and details various others functions of a-lipoic acid including its ability to: a) chelate heavy metals; b) lower systemic inflammation; c) regulate gene expression; d) repair damaged proteins in the body.
Tags: Alpha Lipoic Acid, Eyes, Inflammation
Posted in Diabetes, Heart Health, Nutritional Supplements | 10 Comments
If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably noticed that I regularly post tips about how I promote wellness in my own life. When putting together my “tip tweets”, I try to share information that is practical in nature. One example is the way I sometimes use almond butter as a meal replacement.
Tags: Almonds, Carotenoids, Cholesterol
Posted in Diabetes, Food and Drink, Nutrition | 6 Comments
Recently, an intriguing study published in the journal Circulation Research made headlines in the mainstream news. In the trial, a group of scientists from Barcelona, Spain compared the effects of conventional and de-alcoholized red wine in 67 men at risk for cardiovascular disease. The researchers also tested the impact of gin in a cross-over, randomized manner. The surprising results of the trial revealed that only the non-alcoholic red wine induced a significant reduction in blood pressure. Specifically, they noted a drop of 2 mmhg diastolic and 6 mmhg systolic blood pressure. In real world terms, this equates to an estimated 14% lower risk of coronary heart disease and 20% decline in stroke incidence.
Tags: Circulation, High Blood Pressure, Wine
Posted in Diabetes, Food and Drink, Heart Health | 4 Comments
What if you really could have your cake and eat it too? I’m not asking you to consider a profound philosophical concept, but rather posing the question quite literally. The dream of many dieters is to one day be able to eat high carbohydrate foods without familiar consequences such as high blood sugar, an unhealthful lipid panel and weight gain. Until recently, this was universally accepted as “pie in the sky”. However, nutritional scientists have uncovered certain food based extracts that may, in fact, offer hope in this arena.
Tags: Low Carb, Sugar, Triglycerides
Posted in Diabetes, Diet and Weight Loss, Nutritional Supplements | 6 Comments
Are sweet potatoes really healthier than regular, “white” potatoes? In a word: yes. For starters, the most obvious difference between the two relatives is the vibrant orange color of the so-called “sweet” variety. Carotenoids, much like those found in carrots, are naturally occurring pigments which impart this easily identifiable characteristic of sweet potatoes. Apart from their well established antioxidant properties, select carotenoids, such as beta carotene are used by the body in the manufacture of Vitamin A, an essential nutrient. But, that’s not all that sets sweet potatoes apart from paler potatoes. Sweet potatoes are also higher in fiber and Vitamin C, and equivalent in most other nutrients including potassium. However, before you feel too good about ordering a side of sweet potato fries, you should also be aware that they’re not all they’re cracked up to be – especially for diabetics.
Tags: Carotenoids, Fructose, Potato
Posted in Diabetes, Food and Drink, Nutrition | No Comments;
Natural sweeteners, whether agave nectar, honey or stevia are often perceived and/or represented as reasonably healthy, especially when used in moderation. Support for this theory typically stems from two prevalent beliefs. The first asserts that natural substances are more compatible with the human body than synthetic counterparts, such as aspartame (Equal), saccharine (Sweet’N Low) and sucralose (Splenda). Secondly, there are claims that some natural sweeteners are actually good sources of nutrients. In both instances, modern science can help “separate the wheat from the chaff” when it comes to sweeteners of all kinds.
Tags: High Blood Pressure, Liver, Osteoporosis
Posted in Diabetes, Diet and Weight Loss, Food and Drink | 2 Comments
Pomegranate juice has been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons. In September 2010, the Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint against POM Wonderful LLC, a leading manufacturer of pomegranate extract and juice. In May 2012, an initial decision was announced which stated that some of the claims made in POM advertisements were deceptive in nature and/or overreaching. The order, put forth by Chief Administrative Law Judge D. Michael Chappell, specifically took note of representations that pomegranate extract and juice were capable of preventing, reducing or treating erectile dysfunction, heart disease and prostate cancer.
Tags: Antioxidants, Exercise, Kidney Health
Posted in Diabetes, Food and Drink, Heart Health | 3 Comments