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The hormone insulin directs your cells to open up and take in glucose from the blood. With insulin resistance, your cells become desensitized to insulin. They ignore the instructions to open up and take in glucose. Your body keeps producing more insulin to try to get the message heard. But it doesn't work. And your insulin levels rise higher and higher.
Herbs, spices and foods are your first line of defense. Here are eight that can help restore and maintain your cells' sensitivity to insulin.
1. Turmeric: 100% Effective In Preventing Diabetes
In another study of 240 pre-diabetic adults, patients were given either 250 milligrams of curcumin or a placebo every day. After nine months, NONE of those taking curcumin developed diabetes but 16.4% of the placebo group did. In other words, the curcumin was 100% effective at preventing Type 2 diabetes.
2. Ginger: Lowers Fasting Blood Glucose by 10.5%
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial 88 diabetics were divided into two groups. Every day one group received a placebo while the other received 3 one-gram capsules of ginger powder. After eight weeks, the ginger group reduced their fasting blood sugar by 10.5%. But the placebo group INCREASED their fasting blood sugar by 21%. In addition, insulin sensitivity increased significantly more in the ginger group.[ii]
In another study, researchers proved that 1600 mg per day of ginger improves eight markers of diabetes including insulin sensitivity.[iii]
Many other studies prove the value of ginger for diabetes. For a complete list of studies visit Green Med Info's page on Ginger Health Benefits.
3. Cinnamon: Less Than Half a Teaspoon A Day Reduces Blood Sugar Levels
Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices and most popular spices. It's been used for millennia both for its flavoring and medicinal qualities.
Cinnamon has been shown to normalize blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics by improving the ability to respond to insulin. A meta-analysis of eight clinical studies shows that cinnamon or cinnamon extracts lower fasting blood glucose levels.[iv]
Cinnamon works in part by slowing the rate at which the stomach empties after eating. In one study subjects ate about a cup of rice pudding with and without about a teaspoon of cinnamon. Adding the cinnamon slowed the rate the stomach emptied from 37% to 34.5% and significantly slowed the rise in blood sugar levels. Even less than a half of a teaspoon a day reduces blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics.[v]
Here are 5 more reasons to eat cinnamon every day.
4. Olive Leaf Extract: Results Comparable to Metformin
University of Auckland researchers proved that olive leaf extract decreases insulin sensitivity.
In a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study, 46 overweight men were divided into two groups. One group received capsules containing olive leaf extract and the other group received a placebo. After 12 weeks, olive leaf extract lowered insulin resistance by an average of 15%. It also increased the productivity of the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas by 28%.[vi]
The researchers noted that supplementing with olive leaf extract gave results "comparable to common diabetic therapeutics (particularly metformin)."
5. Berries Lower After-Meal Insulin Spike
Studies show the body needs less insulin for sugar balance after a meal if berries are also eaten. In a study of healthy women in Finland, subjects were asked to eat white and rye bread with or without a selection of different pureed berries. Starch in the bread alone spikes after-meal glucose levels. But the researchers found that adding berries to the bread significantly reduced the after-meal insulin spike.
6. Black Seed (Nigella Sativa): Just 2 Grams Reduces Insulin Resistance
In a study of 94 diabetic patients, researchers prescribed either 1, 2 or 3 grams a day of Nigella sativa capsules. They found that at the dose of 2 grams per day, black seed significantly reduced fasting blood glucose and insulin resistance. The higher dose of 3 grams per day did not result in additional benefits.[viii]