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Getting to the Source of Diabetes

While over 30 million people in the US are currently diagnosed with diabetes, another staggering 84 million are estimated to be living a pre-diabetic life without knowing!

(Statistics:https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/diabetes-statistics)

Diabetes is less of an imbalance of blood sugar than it is a complex, cellular issue. The cells in question become unable to receive and absorb the glucose (sugar) that is delivered by the bloodstream, eventually causing a buildup of unwanted glucose. This buildup causes blood vessel and nerve damage, which over time can lead to serious complications, such as heart attacks and renal diseases.The key to preventing this glucose buildup is the hormone insulin. Insulin allows the blocked cells to unlock and receive the excess glucose that otherwise would be causing dysfunction throughout the bloodstream. Without insulin, the cells cannot process the glucose, therefore most modern medical approaches require patients to inject or ingest insulin While this system is effective, it can take a significant toll on the organs involved and overall health.

There is something you can do, but you must start now!

As diabetes is without a doubt becoming more and more of an issue in today’s society, scientists and medical professionals alike have attributed the upsurge in diagnoses to the unfortunate prevalence of poor lifestyle choices – things such diet, physical activity, and environmental factors.

This is where functional medicine comes in. Functional healthcare focuses on the individual as a whole and takes into account elements of their lifestyle that may contribute to their health issues. This means not just aiming to reverse the physical manifestations, but also getting to the source of the problem.

As every person’s experience with this illness will have contrasting underlying causes, it makes no sense to treat every patient with the same solution, often being mass-produced prescription drugs.

This is why we are so motivated to help our community understand and identify their health issues. We are aware that there is no ‘one size fits all’ treatment when it comes to diabetes management, prevention, or reversal. 

As functional healthcare methods focus on helping the individual to cultivate unique lifestyle improvements as a means of reducing the risk and progression of a disease, there are plenty of steps that people can implement on their own.

One thing which Western medical practitioners and functional, holistic healthcare experts agree on is that NUTRITION is the cornerstone of diabetes management and prevention. Therefore, implementing dietary changes is a fundamental practice in the fight against diabetes.

Keep in mind though, as, with all dietary recommendations, moderation is key!

Try this delicious, diabetes-friendly recipe to kickstart your diabetes treatment plan:

 

Kale and Tomato Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz multigrain/whole wheat pasta
  • 8 oz kale (stems removed and leaves chopped and washed)
  • 2 red or green peppers (chopped)
  • 24 oz jar of reduced-sodium and reduced-fat tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup basil
  • ¼ cup feta cheese

Directions:

  • In a large pot, cook pasta according to package directions (omit any salt given in instructions).
  • Add kale and sweet peppers for the last 3 minutes of cooking.
  • Drain well and return the mixture back to the pot.
  • Stir pasta sauce and snipped basil into pasta and vegetables. Heat through.
  • Sprinkle with feta cheese. Garnish with basil leaves, if desired.

Bon appetit!
(Source: http://www.diabeticlivingonline.com)

 

Need a Mood Boost? Eat This.

No question that what you eat can affect how you feel, right?Mental health and brain health are complex. So are the foods we eat, and the ways our bodies interact with those foods. While, we don’t know the exact mechanisms how food and nutrition help, we know a few ways food impacts our moods.

First, what we eat becomes the raw materials for our neurotransmitters. “Neurotransmitters” are biochemical messengers that allow our nerve cells to communicate (ever heard of serotonin?). They are important not just for thinking and memory, but also for mental health.

Second, what we eat affects our blood sugar. And having unstable blood sugar levels can contribute to mood swings.

Let’s talk about mood-boosting and mood-busting foods.

Mood-boosting foods

Some nutrient deficiencies look like mental health problems; this includes deficiencies in B-vitamins, vitamin D, and the mineral selenium. So, getting enough vitamins, minerals, (and other things like antioxidants) are key. These nutrients not only reduce inflammation but also fuel the biochemical reactions in our bodies. Including those that create neurotransmitters. So make sure you’re eating a variety of nutrient-dense whole foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables. In fact, studies show that people who eat the most fruits and vegetables are the happiest.

Also pay special attention to vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin), as it’s not naturally occurring in too many foods. Selenium is an essential mineral found in Brazil nuts, walnuts, cod, and poultry. Try to add some of those to your weekly diet.

Second, make sure you get enough protein. Protein is your body’s main supply of amino acids. Amino acids are very important for mood issues because they are the building blocks of neurotransmitters. Protein also helps to regulate blood sugar. I recommend eating protein with every meal; this includes dark green leafy vegetables, eggs, poultry, and meat.

Third, complex carbohydrates like sweet potato and quinoa are great too. They allow better absorption of key amino acids like tryptophan. Tryptophan is used by your body to make serotonin (your “happy hormone”) and melatonin (your “sleepy” hormone). So, if you want to relax, try these in the evening.

Fourth, fish and other sources of omega-3 fatty acids (nuts, seeds, and algae) are also mood-boosting. Omega-3s are definitely “brain food” and may help to ease some symptoms.

FUN FACT: One study showed that giving one multi-vitamin and one omega-3 fish oil tablet per day to prison inmates reduced the incidence of violent behavior by 50%!

Last but not least, make sure you’re hydrated. Mild dehydration can cause mood issues as well.

Mood-busting foods

You won’t be surprised to hear me say processed foods are mood-busters, right? One study suggests that eating a lot of processed foods devoid of nutrients can increase your chances of becoming depressed by as much as 60 percent! This is on top of the research that shows nutrient deficiencies can look like mental health problems.

“But it makes me feel good!”

Yes, some of these mood busters can make you feel better temporarily. Some big food companies study how to maximize the “pleasure” centers with the perfect amount of sugar, salt, and fat. Not to mention the color, texture, and taste; they can light up our taste buds and make us feel good… for now.

A few other things to avoid are:
● Alcohol (nervous system depressant)
● Caffeine (may worsen anxious feelings and ability to sleep)
● Sugar (messes with your blood sugar and can worsen inflammation).

Conclusion

Bad moods can lead to bad eating habits; and, bad eating habits can lead to bad moods. If you need a mood boost, stick to minimally processed nutrient-dense whole foods. Things like fresh fruit and vegetables (including leafy greens), nuts and seeds, eggs, fish, poultry, and meat. Avoid common mood-busting foods like alcohol, caffeine, and sugar.

And remember, sometimes “feel good” junk foods, only make you feel good temporarily. So, try my newest recipe for fruit salad, below.

Recipe (mood boosting): Fruit Salad

Serves 6-8

1-2 cups watermelon, cubed
1-2 cups cantaloupe, cubed
1-2 cups blueberries, fresh
1-2 cups blackberries, fresh
1-2 cups green grapes

Instructions

Place all fruit in a large bowl and gently toss.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: Substitute or add any ready-to-eat fruit, like chopped peaches, or raspberries.

References:

https://nutritionfacts.org/video/foods-increase-happiness/