Diabetes refers to a group of metabolic diseases that alter the way your body manages its sugar or blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels. (1)
In Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas is damaged by the body’s own antibodies and is unable to produce any insulin. People suffering from this form of diabetes require insulin injections to control their blood glucose levels.
Type 2 diabetes is on the rise, especially among young children and teenagers due to the problem of increasing childhood obesity and a sedentary lifestyle.
This type of diabetes is caused by insulin deficiency and insulin resistance in the body, i.e., your pancreas still produces some amount of insulin; however, the production is far short of your body’s requirements, and the cells are not able to utilize the insulin as they should.
Persons with Type 2 diabetes can usually take oral medications to control their glucose levels, but many persons will eventually require insulin injections.
All these factors lead to the build-up of glucose in your bloodstream, increasing your blood glucose to alarming levels.
High blood glucose levels, if left unchecked, can often cause severe complications such as:
- Hypertension, or high blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Dental problems, including gum disease, thrush, dry mouth, oral ulcers, and cavities
- Kidney disease or impaired kidney function
- Nerve damage commonly called diabetic neuropathy
- Causes & Risk Factors for Diabetes
- Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
- Preventing Type 2 Diabetes
- Home Remedies to Manage Type 2 Diabetes
- Method 1: Apple Cider Vinegar
- Method 2: Bitter Melon
- Method 3: Okra Water
- Method 4: Exercise and Yoga
- Method 5: Fenugreek
- Method 6: Diet
- Tips for managing diabetes
Causes & Risk Factors for Diabetes
- Type 2 diabetes is often inherited from parents or grandparents; studies have shown that certain parts of your DNA or genetic code determine how your body produces and processes insulin.
- Obesity and extra belly fat.
- Excessive and uncontrolled glucose production by the liver.
- Irregular sleeping habits, getting too much or very little sleep.
- Stress, anxiety, and depression.
- Lack of exercise or any strenuous physical activities.
- High blood pressure; low high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol level, and high triglycerides which are another type of fat in the blood.
- Developing diabetes during pregnancy, or gestational diabetes, or giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS.
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
- Frequent urination.
- Feeling extremely thirsty throughout the day.
- Feeling exceedingly hungry even after eating.
- The weakening of sight or blurred vision.
- Slow healing of injuries or wounds.
- Increased feelings of irritability or fatigue.
- Unexplained weight gain or loss.
- Numbness or tingling in your hand or feet.
- Recurring yeast infections(skin, urinary, or vaginal).
Preventing Type 2 Diabetes
- Keep yourself physically active and fit, ensuring that your body weight adheres to your recommended body mass index (BMI).
- Quit smoking.
- Increase the HDL level in your body and limit or reduce LDL consumption.
- If type 2 diabetes runs in your family, take measures to prevent an onset of diabetes by controlling your glucose intake at an early age.
- Keep track of your blood glucose levels by getting an A1C test. This test checks your average blood glucose level for the past 3 months. Once you have your results, do what is required to keep your blood glucose levels controlled.
- It is never too late to start living a healthy lifestyle. Adopt more active routines, and switch to a healthy eating plan today.
Home Remedies to Manage Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes is a lifelong disease; however, with the right exercises and diet, you can keep it under control and still enjoy a long and healthy life.
Continue reading to discover six simple home remedies, exercises, and dietary habits to successfully decrease your blood glucose levels.
Method 1: Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar provides multiple health benefits and can indeed be called a panacea for all ills.
Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar is especially beneficial for those suffering from type 2 diabetes as it contains acetic acid, which lowers the glycemic index of certain foods, thereby preventing sudden spikes in your blood glucose levels. (2)
Persons with immune system deficiencies (such as persons with cancer, persons receiving chemotherapy, persons with HIV or AIDS, or persons receiving immune system-suppressing medications) should speak with their healthcare provider before consuming raw, unfiltered (unpasteurized) apple cider vinegar or apple juice since it can contain bacteria that could cause severe illness.
Cinnamon, on the other hand, is also helpful for regulating your blood glucose levels, as it improves your body’s sensitivity to insulin.
Furthermore, this sweet spice can also be used as a substitute for sugar in beverages such as tea or, coffee, or in foods such as and your favorite apple pie.
Things you’ll need:
- Apple cider vinegar - 2 tablespoons
- All-natural apple juice - 2 tablespoons
- Cinnamon - ½ teaspoon
- Cold Water - ¾ cup
- Vanilla liquid stevia - 4 drops
- Ice cubes - 2 to 4
Step 1: Put all ingredients in a jar
- Pour out 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a jar.
- Add 2 tablespoons of natural apple juice, followed by a ½ teaspoon of cinnamon powder.
- Measure out and add 4 drops of liquid vanilla stevia.
Step 2: Add water and ice cubes
- Pour 6 oz of water into the jar.
- Mix all ingredients thoroughly.
- Add 2 to 4 ice cubes.
- Drink every morning to keep your diabetes better controlled.
- Alternatively, you can simply mix 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and drink it on an empty stomach every morning, if you don’t mind the taste.
Method 2: Bitter Melon
Bitter melon, also known as bitter squash or balsam-pear might be bitter, but drinking it will definitely leave you healthier.
This green fruit contains active compounds that help control your diabetes: (3)
- Charantin – lowers blood glucose levels
- Vicine – lowers blood glucose levels
- Polypeptide-p – is an insulin-like substance that lowers blood glucose levels
- Lectin – Suppresses appetite and lowers your body’s glycemic response to foods and drinks
Single-Step Treatment: Drink bitter melon juice
- Drink 2 glasses of bitter melon juice daily.
- You can also mix 1 to 3 tablespoons of bitter melon juice with tastier juices such as apple, carrot, or sweet cucumber. Drink before a meal to decrease your body’s glycemic response to your meal.
- You can also get a bitter melon supplement. Take it as directed by the manufacturer.
- Add stir-fried bitter melon to your meals and consume a portion once daily.
Following this remedy on a regular basis will help lower your blood glucose levels. Full benefits are generally achieved in 1 month.
Bitter melon is contraindicated in pregnancy because it can cause bleeding, contractions, premature delivery, and miscarriage.
Method 3: Okra Water
In recent years, okra has gained prominence as a blood glucose lowering food. Making okra a part of your regular diet will greatly aid in keeping your diabetes under control. (4)
Things you’ll need:
- Medium-sized okra - 4 to 5 pods
- Air-tight container
Step 1: Chop up okra pods & soak them in water overnight
- Take 4 to 5 medium-sized fresh okra pods and wash them properly to remove all impurities.
- Chop them in half and then place them in an air-tight container.
- Pour water and fill the container completely.
- Place the lid on the container and let the okra soak in the water for 8 to 24 hours.
Step 2: Strain and drink the okra-infused water
- After the allotted time of soaking, squeeze the okra pods to drain the sap into the container of water.
- Remove and throw away the pods. The okra water is now ready to be consumed.
- Drink daily, preferably in the morning, to lower your blood glucose.
Follow this remedy for 4 to 6 weeks for a significant reduction in your blood glucose levels.
Method 4: Exercise and Yoga
A sedentary and lifestyle is one of the major factors responsible for the increasing incidence of diabetes, especially among children, teenagers, and young adults.
Swimming and dancing are vigorous physical activities that, if done on a regular basis (i.e., 2 to 3 sessions a week) from an early age, can help prevent diabetes, promote more consistent blood glucose levels, and lower cholesterol levels.
Aerobic exercises are beneficial for persons with or without diabetes. (5) Daily participation in 30 minutes of moderate- to high-intensity aerobic exercises, at least 5 days each week, can lower your blood glucose, lower your cholesterol levels, and promote weight loss.
Participating in two 30-minute sessions each day, at least 5 days each week, will promote greater weight loss.
The addition of strength training exercises to your aerobic exercises will provide additional glucose-lowering, cholesterol-lowering, and weight loss benefits.
Tai Chi, a Chinese martial art, is beneficial for diabetes patients. The slow, repetitive movements stretch your muscles, lowers your blood glucose, and helps reduce stress and anxiety.
A. Brisk Walking
- Start with a few warm-ups and stretching exercises.
- Stand up straight, keeping your arms by your side, swinging them freely as you walk.
- Make sure to keep your head in line with your spine and look forward.
- Walking naturally, yet briskly, and make sure to land on your heels.
- Maintain a brisk or fast pace for the entirety of your walk.
- Swimming is a heavy cardiovascular exercise that helps in boosting your body’s metabolism and burning energy.
- Start with easy swimming styles, such as freestyle, then progress to more vigorous back and breast strokes.
- Begin with 2 to 3 sessions of 20 pool laps per week, then gradually increase your sessions to 5 times per week.
- Check your blood glucose levels before and after your sessions to monitor the effects on your glucose levels.
- Adjust your swimming sessions accordingly.
- Cycling for 30 minutes daily helps burn calories and keep diabetes under control.
- Intense cycling sessions also improve lung capacity and heart health.
- Go for mountain biking whenever possible as it is a much more strenuous exercise and burns more energy.
- Check your blood glucose levels before and after your sessions to monitor the effect on your glucose levels.
A. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
- Lie down on a yoga mat with your face downwards.
- Keep your feet hip-width apart and hands at your side.
- Gradually lift your legs and bend your knees.
- Stretch your hands back to hold your ankles.
- Take a deep breath and lift your chest.
- Raise your legs by pulling on the ankles.
- Rest your weight on the abdomen and stretch your head upward while simultaneously taking a deep breath. Hold your breath for as long as possible.
- Exhale slowly while lowering your legs to the floor.
- Return to the initial position.
Perform this posture 3 to 5 times daily.
B. Corpse Pose (Savasana)
- Lie down on a padded surface and use a neck pillow if you want.
- Position your legs apart at a comfortable distance and keep your toes pointed outwards.
- Place your arms by your side at a slight distance from your body.
- With your eyes closed, direct your thoughts inward as you focus on each area of your body.
- Take a deep breath and exhale slowly while relaxing your body.
- Let go of your physical self and simply focus on breathing for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Slowly return to the physical plane and open your eyes. Observe and focus on your surroundings.
Perform this pose every night before going to bed to help decrease your blood pressure.
C. Child’s Pose (Balasana)
- Kneel on a padded surface and join your feet, then place your knees hip-distance apart.
- Take in deep breaths and slowly exhale. Focus on your breathing and let all anxieties slip away.
- Exhale and slowly lower your upper torso.
- Rest your chest on your thighs and bend forward till your forehead touches the floor.
- Stretch out your arms to the area in front of you while keeping them in line with your shoulders.
- Set your palms flat on the floor.
- Hold this position for up to 1 minute.
- Take deep breaths as you slowly raise your upper body, keeping your arms stretched out.
- Exhale slowly while lowering your arms.
- Do this once daily before going to bed.
Do this once daily before going to bed.
D. Quick Breathing Exercise (Kapalbhati Pranayam)
- Sit on a folded blanket and keep your back straight.
- Assume a cross-legged position.
- Position your hands on your knees and keep your palms open and downward.
- Take in a deep breath through your nostrils until your lungs are fully expanded.
- Exhale swiftly and vigorously via your nose. Contract your stomach muscles while exhaling.
- Repeat 15 to 20 times to complete a round.
- Do this for 5 to 10 minutes each day to increase your metabolism and to help decrease your blood glucose.
Kapalbhati Pranayama is an advanced breathing technique and should only be attempted by persons who have mastered the basic breathing techniques in Yoga.
Kapalbhati Pranayama should not be attempted for the first time without the presence of a Yoga instructor.
Kapalbhati Pranayama should not be performed by persons who are pregnant or persons with high blood pressure, heart diseases, asthma, emphysema, other types of chronic respiratory conditions, or hernias.
Method 5: Fenugreek
Fenugreek seeds contain a high amount of soluble fiber, a special type of carbohydrate, which helps lower your blood glucose and cholesterol levels. (6)
Soluble fiber cannot be broken down by the body into digestible sugar, therefore this special carbohydrate, unlike other carbohydrates, will not cause elevations in blood glucose levels.
Fenugreek might cause a decrease in the rate of digestion. As a result of slower digestion, you might feel full for a longer time after eating a moderate amount of food. Therefore you might experience a decreased appetite and experience some weight loss.
Consult your healthcare provider prior to consuming fenugreek seeds or any other parts of the fenugreek plant. Fenugreek seed and plant consumption is unsafe for:
- persons under 18 years of age
- women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
- persons taking blood thinners (or other herbs or medications that interfere with the body’s ability to control bleeding)
- persons with a bleeding disorder or any condition that could result in spontaneous bleeding
- persons with chronic blood loss (i.e., occult gastrointestinal bleeding)
- persons who have had recent surgeries or major procedures or persons who plan to have surgery or a major procedure within the next 30 days.
Persons allergic to chickpeas and peanut should avoid consumption of fenugreek since there is a chance of an allergic reaction.
Persons consuming fenugreek while taking diabetic medications should monitor their blood glucose closely since there is a chance of severe hypoglycemia or low blood glucose.
Single-Step Treatment: Consume soaked fenugreek seeds daily
- Increase the intake of fenugreek seeds in your diet. Either sprinkle it over your food as a garnish or opt for the powdered form. They are also easy to grow in your kitchen garden.
- Alternatively, you can soak 2 tablespoons of fenugreek seeds in a glass of water overnight.
- Drink the water along with the seeds on an empty stomach the next morning.
- Do this daily for a few months to significantly reduce your blood glucose levels.
- You can also drink 2 tablespoons of powdered fenugreek seeds with a glass of milk daily to manage and control diabetes.
Method 6: Diet
A healthy and well-balanced diet can effectively manage your blood glucose levels and keep them under control. (7)
Eliminate sugar from your diet entirely. Use healthy substitutes such as stevia, cinnamon, and others.
Avoid eating carbohydrates such as white rice and potatoes. Include as many fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet as you can.
Limit your consumption of meat, especially of processed and red meat. Instead consume healthy and lean protein foods including chicken and omega 3-rich fish like salmon, herring, lake trout, etc., 2 to 4 times a week.
You should also reduce your consumption of refined carbohydrates such as white bread and pasta and include more whole grains or complex carbohydrates in your diet, i.e., brown or multigrain bread, brown or wild rice, quinoa, millets, rye, barley, etc.
Eating these high-fiber foods help suppress appetite and prevent sharp spikes of blood glucose levels after meals.
Opt for healthier versions of common foods like fat-free and sugar-free yogurt, sugar-free drinks, smoothies, etc.
Tips for managing diabetes
- Include plenty of ginger and garlic in your diet to manage and control diabetes; add them to stir-fried meat and vegetables, soups, etc. You can even add their pickled versions in salads.
- Drink extra water throughout the day as it keeps you hydrated and helps your kidneys flush out the extra glucose via urine.
- Avoid extra water if you have conditions such as congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, hyponatremia (low blood sodium level), kidney failure, Addison’s disease, or any other conditions where excessive water consumption is contraindicated.
- Control your appetite or meal portions. Eat smaller portions and avoid buffets.
- Eat plenty of eggs as they are an excellent source of protein and contain chromium, which helps control blood glucose levels.
- Eat magnesium-rich foods such as bananas, avocado, dark leafy greens, dark chocolate, and beans to keep your glucose levels in check.
- Always ensure that your blood glucose level is higher than 70 mg/dL, as anything lower than this can cause severe signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia, including diaphoresis (sweaty skin), fatigue, tremors, weakness, blurry vision, confusion, unconsciousness, nausea, vomiting, coma, and stroke-like symptoms.
- Solis-Herrera C. Classification of Diabetes Mellitus. Endotext [Internet]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279119/. Published February 24, 2018.
- Siddiqui FJ, Assam PN, de Souza NN, Sultana R, Dalan R, Chan ES-Y. Diabetes Control: Is Vinegar a Promising Candidate to Help Achieve Targets? Journal of evidence-based integrative medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5954571/. Published May 2018.
- Fuangchan A, Sonthisombat P, Seubnukarn T, et al. Hypoglycemic effect of bitter melon compared with metformin in newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes patients. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21211558. Published March 24, 2011.
- Fan S, Zhang Y, Sun Q, et al. Extract of okra lowers blood glucose and serum lipids in high-fat diet-induced obese C57BL/6 mice. The Journal of nutritional biochemistry. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24746837. Published July 2014.
- Yanai H, Adachi H, Masui Y, et al. Exercise Therapy for Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: A Narrative Review. Journal of clinical medicine research. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5862082/. Published May 2018.
- Gaddam A, Galla C, Thummisetti S, Marikanty RK, Palanisamy UD, Rao PV. Role of Fenugreek in the prevention of type 2 diabetes mellitus in prediabetes. Journal of diabetes and metabolic disorders. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4591578/. Published October 2, 2015.
- Asif M. The prevention and control type-2 diabetes by changing lifestyle and dietary pattern. Journal of education and health promotion. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3977406/. Published February 21, 2014.
Summary of How to Control and Treat Diabetes
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