You or one of your closest two friends are likely in this group...
It's an epidemic that is putting one out of three Americans at risk... and claiming hundreds of thousands of American lives each year...
Thirty million Americans are currently diagnosed. And another 86 million Americans are on their way to getting this disease.
All told, half of the U.S. population could be diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes within the next three years.
There are lots of factors involved with diabetes... It depends on how you respond to foods and how much your blood sugar fluctuates. Your weight, exercise habits, sleep, blood pressure... even the small bacteria that live in your colon... all contribute to how you process the food you eat.
The surest way to beat diabetes is with exercise.
And you don't have to stop there. There are still a few foods that do help to lower blood-sugar levels. Not only that, but these three surprising foods provide a variety of benefits whether you're worried about your blood sugar or not.
First up is one of my favorite foods... yogurt.
Recently, a Johns Hopkins study revealed that folks who added probiotic foods – like yogurt – to their diets saw reductions in blood-sugar levels. All the participants in the trial followed the same diet. However, half of them added one serving of a probiotic food each day and saw a 10% reduction in their fasting blood-sugar levels.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria found in certain foods... I've previously recommended not only yogurt, but also kimchi and sauerkraut. Once you eat them, the bacteria move into your intestines, keeping your immune system functioning well and food digesting properly.
While this study was small, we've seen a few others support this idea, including an Iranian study that used fermented milk (kefir) as a probiotic food for diabetics. After eight weeks, those folks also saw improvements in their blood-sugar levels.
I'm convinced that adding probiotic-rich foods like yogurt to your diet will help your health and wellness today. Of course, watch out for sugar. A lot of popular yogurt brands load their product with lots of sugar... which can undermine the health benefits of the probiotics. Do what I do... buy plain yogurt and mix in fresh fruit.
And speaking of fruit... the second food to add to your diet is apples.
Apples have plenty of healthy compounds, including powerful antioxidants like catechins and chlorogenic acid. (If you remember, we've written about catechins here and touched on chlorogenic acid here.)
What's more, apple skin contains a molecule called quercetin that helps lower blood-sugar levels.
In Finland, apples are one of the most-consumed fruits. One study from theAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that of 10,000 Finnish men and women, those who ate more apples had lower rates of type 2 diabetes.
Other studies show that quercetin protects pancreatic cells, interacts with insulin, and plays a role in keeping glucose levels in balance throughout the body. We're still learning more about it, but given the current research we think apples are another tasty addition to your diet.
And the last food... chocolate. Not the rich Hershey's bars loaded with sugar, but we're talking about dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa… that packs the most benefits.
Dark chocolate contains chromium. Chromium directly increases insulin binding and turns on more insulin receptors. That means it helps reduce insulin insensitivity. In one study in China, diabetes patients took chromium supplements and saw their blood sugar and insulin levels get back to healthy ranges. In fact, they also saw their A1C levels drop.
The A1C test is the main test used to measure blood sugar in folks with diabetes. It measures how many blood cells have glucose attached to them. And since blood cells live for about three months, it's a good average of your blood sugar for a three-month period.
We love chocolate. Not only does it help blood sugar, but it also protects your brain and lowers blood pressure.
Adding these three foods to your diet will bring you a lot of benefits. And most of all, they'll help with your blood sugar.
And remember that if you're pre-diabetic or diabetic, regularly testing your blood sugar and keeping a food journal will help you figure out if there's a specific food that triggers your blood spikes. Empower yourself to understand your body and its relation with sugar.
- In case you missed it: Our issues on diabetes food guidelines and exercise.
- Diabetes Self-Management covers the strange connection between chocolate and blood sugar.
- Something different: Can this little fish hold the key to better painkillers?
Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,
Dr. David Eifrig and the Retirement Millionaire Daily Research Team
April 6, 2017