According to the American Diabetes Association, approximately 29.1 million Americans have diabetes, the vast majority of those people undiagnosed. Nearly two million new people will be diagnosed annually and it contributes directly to hundreds of thousands of deaths every year as well as even more indirectly.
Those who are diagnosed go to incredible lengths to manage their blood sugar. With that being the case, shouldn’t they have one more tool in their arsenal to help with with their diabetes? How about juicing?
While no substitute for insulin, drinking healthy juices designed to help regulate blood sugar can reduce the need for regular injections, prevent major crashes, and avoid many of the worst symptoms of diabetes.
What Can Juicing Do to Help?
Juicing is a counter-intuitive answer when it comes to diabetes, largely because diabetics are often advised to avoid juices, particularly fruit juices, because of the natural sugars in them. Remember: just because it isn’t processed doesn’t mean that it isn’t harmful.
That being said, there are a number of foods that can help either reduce insulin resistance or support the production of insulin in the body.
First thing is first: you want to start with primarily vegetables. Fruits contain a version of sugar called fructose which increases your blood glucose levels. While you don’t have to avoid them all together, it’s a good idea to limit them as much as possible and choose fruits that aren’t incredibly sweet.
Asparagus is a great start to a juice that can help regulate your blood sugar, and it has the benefit of also containing a number of other nutrients that are great for the body.
If you’re looking for something more fruit-like, consider tomatoes or carrots, both of which are a little sweet and can add a touch of sugar to your juice without it being overpowering or dangerous. Parsley, endive, beet greens, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, and collared greens are excellent sources of manganese which studies have shown enhances insulin secretion and decreases blood glucose. This is especially good since they can replace higher sugar foods like pineapple, blueberries, and strawberries that are also rich in manganese. Broccoli has the added benefit of being high in Vitamin C.
Another thing to consider is that herbs and spices can add to your juice both in terms of diabetes management and flavor.
Cinnamon has been used for years to help manage blood sugar by lowing blood glucose and increasing insulin sensitivity. Further, it’s a really unique flavor to add to drinks and can give the impression of sweet desserts without the accompanying sugar.
Herbs like garlic, ginseng, ginkgo, and fenugreek are also thought to have properties that are good for diabetics and can make for an interesting savory drink if combined with vegetables.
Secondary Benefits to Juicing
Other than the direct benefits you may receive from adding ingredients to increase insulin sensitivity or decrease blood glucose, there are secondary benefits that come with adding juicing to your diet.
For example, Type 2 diabetes is often caused by obesity, though it has been shown that it is possible to reverse the process toward that by getting within normal weight levels. Juicing can help as part of a balanced diet, not only providing a healthy option other than fast food but also adding energy to your body that can be used for exercise. Sometimes the best way to combat a disease like diabetes is to try and get the rest of your body working in top shape to avoid the worst effects.
Juicing is not and should not be considered an alternative to actual medicine. What it is, however, is a way to reduce the worst aspects of diabetes by keeping the blood sugar low and promoting a higher sensitivity to insulin produced by the body. It can be a significant part of a healthy lifestyle that improves the way you manage your disease.