These herbs and spices can help lower your blood sugar
Diabetes is on the rise, especially in the United States. About 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with the disease every year, according to the American Diabetes Association.
Diabetes stems from having abnormally high blood sugar levels, which is caused by eating too much sugary foods. Eating junk food like sodas, fries and chips regularly also puts you in the running for diabetes. Processed meats, in particular, are linked by studies to Type 2 diabetes because they are rich in sodium and preservatives.
But not all foods that taste good are bound to increase the amount of sugar in your blood. In fact, many of the herbs and spices that you use to enhance the flavor of your meals can help protect you from diabetes. Some medicinal herbs that are commonly used as home remedies are also known to decrease blood sugar levels.
Here are some of the best herbs and spices that can help keep your blood sugar at a healthy level:
- Aloe vera — Widely known for its healing and skin-moisturizing properties, the medicinal aloe vera is said to help people with Type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar. In fact, the dried sap of this plant is traditionally used in Arabia to treat diabetes.
- Bitter melon — A vegetable used in Asian cuisine, bitter melon or bitter gourd is popular as both food and supplement among diabetics. Research shows that this vegetable has properties similar to insulin, the hormone that signals cells to take up sugar from the blood. This event is crucial to decrease the amount sugar in your bloodstream.
- Cinnamon — One of the most extensively studied spices in the world, cinnamon has been reported to have blood sugar-lowering properties by multiple studies. A meta-analysis of clinical trials published in the Journal of Medicinal Food also found enough evidence of cinnamon consumption benefiting people with diabetes.
- Fenugreek — Traditionally used as a spice and a natural medicine for centuries, fenugreek and particularly its seeds have shown effectiveness in clinical trials at reducing blood sugar and improving glucose tolerance. Fenugreek seeds can also lower bad cholesterol (LDL) levels.
- Garlic — Known for its many beneficial properties, which include antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, garlic is said to increase the secretion of insulin, slow its degradation and decrease blood sugar levels effectively.
- Ginger — According to several studies, ginger extracts can help prevent hyperglycemia or high blood sugar. This famous spice also helps relieve acid reflux, which is a common problem among diabetics.
- Ginseng — One of the most widely known traditional Chinese medicines, ginseng has proven its ability to improve blood sugar levels in both clinical and animal studies.
- Holy basil — A known adaptogen in Ayurvedic medicine, holy basil or tulsi leaves not only add flavor to dishes, they also help manage diabetes by improving the function of pancreatic beta-cells. Pancreatic beta-cells are responsible for producing insulin.
- Milk thistle — Known as the source of the medicinal plant compound silymarin, milk thistle has been used for 2,000 years as an herbal remedy for various illnesses. Today, it is also known to lower not only blood sugar levels, but also blood lipids.
- Rosemary — Rich in powerful antioxidants, this widely used herb can stabilize blood sugar levels and even promote weight loss. Research also suggests that rosemary can help regulate blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
- Sage — Like rosemary, sage is also rich in antioxidants, as well as anti-inflammatory compounds. This herb is also known as a natural anti-diabetic agent whose effects are similar to the oral diabetes drug, metformin.
- Turmeric — Used in both Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, turmeric is best-known as the source of curcumin. Besides having anti-cancer properties, curcumin also helps manage the symptoms of diabetes by reducing blood sugar levels and improving insulin sensitivity.
The herbs and spices listed above are also available as health supplements, and can help with a variety of other ailments besides diabetes. To maintain healthy blood sugar levels, limit your consumption of sweets and add these medicinal foods to your daily diet.
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