Creative Eldering: Be Good To Your Pancreas, It Might Help Your Blood Sugar Level
There are at least 220 million people with diabetes worldwide, and as of 2009 every three minutes an additional person is diagnosed with diabetes.1 You yourself probably know someone struggling with one of its three types, especially Diabetes type II, which effects all age groups in all “modern cultures” (cultures who eat processed foods). You may be surprised to find that another word for Diabetes type III is Alzheimer’s disease.
When talking about diabetes the most basic recommendation is to avoid processed food like the plague. Suspect all processed foods of containing some form of sugar or milled flour. Such highly refined carb foods characteristically add preservatives, flavor enhancers, dough conditioners, genetically modified components, hormones, pesticides, and other toxins. None of those components are healthy for anyone but are especially cumbersome for a diabetic.
Your pancreas and your digestive enzyme systems are only programmed to handle unrefined or “complex” carbohydrates. The best choices are organic rice and millet home-cooked from the dry grain. Quinoa and amaranth are actually seeds, not grains, and provide more protein than grains do, and they are more pancreas friendly.
Leaving out white potatoes is best, but include sweet potatoes, yams, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, tomatoes, eggplant, onions, spinach, baby kale, arugula, parsley, leaf lettuce, Boston lettuce, romaine lettuce and the like that do not stress the pancreas. Frequently including steamed greens such as kale, Swiss chard, mustard greens, turnip greens, and even wild pot herbs such as lamb’s quarter in the diet provides numerous minerals and vitamins.
Many plant-based proteins like raw nuts, beans, and lentils are useful. Those who include eggs and dairy should remember to look for grass fed and organic sources. For those who include meats and poultry in their diet, select pasture raised, humanely raised, and organic items. Coconut oil and grass-fed butter are healthy sources of dietary fats along with a variety of raw nuts, walnuts, pecans, and almonds in particular.
Some sources admonish diabetics to avoid fruit, but fresh and natural unsweetened fruit is likely well-tolerated by most diabetics. Berries are especially good, with strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries leading the way. Recent research indicates that blackberries can increase insulin sensitivity and even increase fat burning. Apples, cherries, peaches, pears, and plums are other good examples of fruits that most diabetics tolerate.
Check in with your natural health care provider and have counseling about specific nutritional supplements to add. Many diabetics do well with vitamins E, C, and the B complex, along with chromium, zinc, vanadium, magnesium, and manganese. Cinnamon, Bitter Melon, Fenugreek, Ginseng, Gymnea Sylvestre, Jerusalem artichoke, Stinging Nettles, and Turmeric are also often appropriate.
Avoiding processed foods, especially sugar and flour will make your pancreas happy. Then providing fresh and natural fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and lentils will provide many nutrients that your pancreas needs and will help it balance your blood sugar naturally.
1 [page 310, Your Body Can Talk, second edition.]