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Issue No 105
Winter 2005 
page 31

Herbs for Diabetes

For a tasty addition, sprinkle fresh wheat germ or corn germ over green salads, hot or cold cereals, or use to coat fish and veal chops instead of bread crumbs.

Florabel Campbell-Atkinson, MCPP, MNIMH, is a practicing medical herbalist currently based at The Sussex Medical Chambers in England. Visit her website at www.fragrant healer.co.uk

 
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believe that all diabetics should make fenugreek seeds a regular part of their diet.

Fenugreek has a history of use in aiding indigestion and safely reducing inflammation, too. Visit a nutritionist or herbalist to find the specific dosage that's right for you.

Grapeseed extract (Vitis vineferal)
Also rich in flavonoids (anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins), grapeseed extract provides the same benefits as bilberry. Typical dosage: 100 to 300 milligrams of proanthocyanidin content per day.

A Discriminating Diet
Diet plays a lead role in the treatment and control of diabetes. It’s not a just a matter of avoiding foods rich in simple carbohydrates, but of establishing an eating regimen that deters peaks of glucose from entering the blood. Spreading the nutrient load throughout the day with three main meals and three snacks— “nibbling” as opposed to “gorging” —not only reduces blood glucose and insulin concentrations, but also guards against the development of hyperglycemia. Consumption of fiber rich foods—barley, carrots, oats, legumes, beans, onions, peas, and lentils—have been associated with improved blood glucose control, and are better for long term use than soluble fiber supplements such as guar, pectin, and locust bean gum.

In 1923, researchers discovered a whole range of plants with hypoglycemic action. Among them: artichoke, banana, barley, cabbage, carrot, lettuce, nettles, oats, peas, spinach, sweet potato, and turnip. Foods rich in the B vitamins, which help regulate metabolism, are also beneficial, as diets high in sugar tend to burn these vitamins at a faster rate. (In Europe, vitamin B is sometimes called “the poor man’s insulin”) These foods include wheat germ, yogurt, and liver.

Of course, there’s no better way to protect yourself from diabetes than preventing it. Eating excessive quantities of refined sugars over the years may well overwork and depress insulin-producing cells, until they finally falter and break down. Obesity, combined with inactivity, seems to enhance the susceptibility to the disease. If diabetes is present in your family tree, keep your weight down and stay active. The wonder of the body may be it’s ability to heal itself, so pay attention to its needs, and take advantage of the medicinal gifts that Nature has to offer to maintain your own good health. •

 
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