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A naturopath will want to determine whether you are at risk for diabetes and help guide you to adopt lifestyle changes to minimize that risk. If diabetes is already a health issue for you, your naturopath can use a variety of strategies to help your body use its inherent abilities to return to better health.

Naturopathic medicine helps you strengthen the natural healing powers of your body with a focus on three main lifestyle factors: diet management, weight control, and stress relief.

Diet Management for Diabetes
The decisions you make in selecting different foods, preparing them, and eating them can make a significant difference in your health. We know that diabetes is a condition in which the body does not assimilate food as effectively as it should.

When the sugar resulting from digested food is not able to enter the cells, it remains in the bloodstream. This can, over time, cause serious injury especially to the eyes and kidneys. It can slow the healing of sores and blisters, and in extreme cases can even lead eventually to amputation.

With his or her training in nutrition, a naturopath can help you adjust your diet to prevent or treat diabetes without the use of heavy drugs.

Controlling Blood Sugar
The goal in preventing or treating diabetes is to reduce high levels of glucose in the bloodstream. Usually, a diet rich in complex carbohydrates and fiber is recommended by naturopaths.

Foods containing whole grains, legumes, and vegetables are ideal for a good diet because they tend to slow absorption, helping to avoid a rapid rise in blood glucose. Your naturopath will also guide you to avoid the foods that can cause a spike in blood sugar, because that spike puts an extra stress on the pancreas.

Foods to limit or avoid:

  • sugars—especially refined sugars
  • “junk foods” and fast foods
  • white breads, pastas, crackers,etc
  • Fruit juices
  • Your naturopath may recommend adjusting the amounts of food taken at each meal. Usually patients are advised to eat small amounts at frequent intervals rather than a few large meals each day.

    In addition, the naturopathic doctor may suggest taking care in the way that you combine foods. For instance, you may be advised to eat protein-containing foods along with vegetables in order to slow the process of absorption.

    Herbs often used in the treatment of diabetes:

  • Fenugreek
  • bitter melon
  • garlic
  • olive leaves
  • ginseng
  • A naturopath can recommend which herbs are best for you and in what form they should be taken: as a tea, as a pill or tablet, or as a powder, mixed carefully with food.

    Weight Control
    Hand-in-hand with diet management is the subject of weight control. Selecting foods that help reduce blood sugar levels will usually also provide help in controlling weight.

    In addition to a change in diet, your naturopath will probably suggest physical exercise appropriate to your health condition. Regular exercise is a vital component in preventing or treating diabetes. Exercise not only lowers blood glucose level, it also promotes healthy metabolic functions and oxygenates tissues.

    Stress Relief and Sleeping Patterns
    We know that stress increases the body’s production of adrenalin, and that raises the blood sugar level. Though stress seems to be almost built-in to today’s living, we need to keep in mind that it can have a damaging effect on our bodies.

    If your naturopath notices in chatting with you that you appear to be feeling the effects of stress, he or she may suggest massage therapy. Many naturopaths are specially trained in touch therapy and massage techniques.

    In addition, you may be given counseling in particular relaxation techniques to help you establish regular, healthy sleeping patterns.

    Page Last Updated: October 25, 2009

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