Offering a unique reference point on alternative medicine and complementary therapies.

Posts Tagged "diabetes"

Is walking good for you?

We all know by now that we should be walking more; getting off the bus/tube a stop or two early, walking the kids to school, getting up from our desk every 30 minutes and probably spending less time in front of  the TV, laptop or playing video games.  All in all we spend too much time sitting down and being inactive. So is walking good for you?  We all know that walking is a form of exercise and as part of a plan that includes a healthy diet can help lose weight and is a good but gentle form of cardiovascular exercise BUT there also a number of other benefits that are just as, if not more important.  These include: Type 2 Diabetes A recent study by the School of Public Health at Imperial College London suggested that people who walk to work were about 40% less likely to have diabetes than people who drove to work. Increases Vitamin D Levels Vitamin D is very important in that the body needs it to absorb calcium which in turn is vital to help maintain strong bones (calcium deficiency can lead to brittle bones and even osteoporosis. We also need Vitamin D to help the body fight infections and help maintain healthy organs.  A daily 15 minute walk is all that is needed to make sure you get your daily dose of Vitamin D. Reduces the risk of Heart Disease Research has shown that a daily brisk walk can help reduce the risk of  heart disease by up to 50%.  Even walking at a moderate pace for 30 minutes a day can reduce the risk of heart disease in women by 40% according to a 1999 Harvard Study. I have highlighted just a few of the less obvious benefits of walking, the more widely known ones include increased heart lung fitness, reduction of body fat, increased muscle strength and stamina. A few more statistics that will hopefully motivate you to walk more….. “Walking for 20 minutes a day could save 37,000  people a year from dying prematurely of cancer, heart disease and stroke” according to a report by The Ramblers & Macmillan Cancer Support In fact, walking briskly can lower your risk of high blood pressure, high...

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A Diabetes Crisis?

As the rates of diabetes are continually on the rise, an obvious but important question is are we eating too much sugar? A survey by Diabetes UK has discovered that patients with type-2 diabetes, is expected to hit 5million by 2025. This is quite startling, and it clearly shows that governments alongside the food industry have not acted in the best interests of the population. Unless this changes, we are heading for health disaster in the coming decades. The survey also found that many people were not aware of the seriousness of the disease. Many people were not ware that diabetes can lead to heart disease, blindness and even amputations. Type-2 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin or it does not work properly. This condition is generally linked with weight gain, especially around the abdomen.  So why are more people being diagnosed with diabetes than before? Possible answers are a lack of regular exercise, irregular diet and higher consumption of sugar. We generally like sugar and it is very addictive. Food manufacturers have continually increased the amount of sugar in everyday foods such as bread, savoury snacks and convenience foods. Sugar is not only included as the white powder as we all know it. Carbohydrates release sugars which can cause these problems. High sugar intake leads to a surge in the levels of insulin, which is released by the pancreas, to regulate the amount of sugar in the blood. Regular high sugar intake can eventually lead to insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes. The simple solution is that we need to cut down on how much sugar we consume and increase our exercise output. Cutting down on processed foods and ready meals is a good start. We need to go back to basics. Generally, the more whole foods that we consume, the lower our chances of developing insulin resistance. We should be eating more complex carbohydrates, which release sugar slower than simple carbohydrates. A simple example of this is eating more sweet potato rather than more potatoes. Sweet potatoes release sugar slowly as they have a lower GI (glycemic index) compared to ordinary potatoes, which release sugar faster, as they have a high GI (glycemic index)....

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Can Curcumin Prevent Diabetes?

Can you prevent diabetes? There has recently been further research which supports the health benefits of curcurmin (the active component of turmeric). This study looked at the effectiveness of curcurmin in the prevention of diabetes. The trial was conducted at Srinakharinwirot University in Nakornnayok in Thailand, involved 240 adults with pre-diabetes. Pre-diabetes is a state in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetic. Pre-diabetes can cause damage to the heart and circulatory system. The participants were divided into two groups. One group was given a daily dose of 250mg curcurmin in a capsule form and the other group was given a placebo capsule. The trial was conducted for nine months, after which it was found that 19 of the 116 placebo group developed type- 2 diabetes, whilst none of the 199 treatment group developed the illness. The researchers said, “Because of its benefits and safety, we propose that curcumin extract may be used for an intervention therapy for the pre-diabetes population.” “This looks promising, but there are still a lot of questions,” said Constance Brown-Riggs, a certified diabetes educator and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. There is perceived concern that people will ignore dietary advice and simply go for a magic pill (in this case curcurmin). This is not what the study suggests, and a better way to incorporate curcurmin in the diet is by eating more dishes which contain turmeric. Turmeric is a staple ingredient in many Asian dishes, and it can also be taken in a glass of warm water. Turmeric is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties and it this action that may explain why it has shown promise in the prevention of diabetes.  The researchers suggested that the curcurmin may protect the beta cells, in the pancreas, (that produce insulin) from...

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Statins Increase Risk of Diabetes

A recent US study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine has found that statins (cholesterol lowering drugs) may be responsible for an increased risk of diabetes in post menopausal women. The report found that women who took statins of any kind, were on average 48% more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. Statins are commonly prescribed medications in the UK. Examples are simvastatin, atorvastatin, rosuvastatin, pravastatin and fluvastatin. Yunsheng Ma of the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester said, “statin medication use in postmenopausal women is associated with an increased risk fordiabetes mellitus”. The group used data from the Women’s Health Initiative,which included more than 150,000 diabetes-free women in their 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Some of these women were prescribed vitamins, dietary changes, hormone therapies, while others were not told to change their diet or lifestyle. At the start of the study which began in the mid 1990’s, the women had to fill out questionnaires about their health and current medication they were on, including statins. These women were then followed for up to 6 to 7 years. The results found that around 10,200 women developed diabetes with 48% more likely to be diagnosed inthose taking any kind of statin than those who did not take these medications. Many other studies have suggested a link between statins and diabetes. These studies have suggested an increase of 10 to 12% increase in diabetes among statin users. Naveed Sattar, ametabolism and diabetes researcher at the University of Glasgow  said that the reasons why statins have shown to increase the risk of diabetes remain unclear, but the effect of statins on the muscles and liver may lead the body to make slightly more sugar than it normally would, or cause users to exercise a bit less.  He continued to state that the benefits of statins outweigh the potential risks for people with heart disease. Cholesterol levels can be reduced by adjusts in diet and by taking nutritional supplements such as fish oils and omega 3 essential fatty acids. Regular exercise is also essential at reducing cholesterol levels, as well as reducing the risk of type 2...

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Eating Vegetables to Lose Weight

Eating vegetables such as asparagus, garlic and artichokes could help with weight loss and help reduce risk of diabetes. These vegetables are known as fermentable carbohydrates are believed to activate the release of hormones that suppress appetite. The vegetables also lead to better glucose control by enhancing the release of insulin. Insulin is the hormone that is released by the pancreas that is important for regulating the amount of sugar in the blood. Charity Diabetes UK is funding a study into the benefits ofthese vegetables, and if proved to be effective could provide asignificant progress into the treatment of obesity and type-2 diabetes. Research has already highlighted the benefits of eating green leafyvegetables in the prevention of type-2 diabetes. These vegetables are arich source of magnesium and a deficiency of this mineral has beenlinked with the onset of type-2...

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What are Antioxidants?

Have you been wondering what are antioxidants? Antioxidants are naturally produced by the body, but due to the level of free radical damage that we are exposed to, it is advisable to supplement the diet with antioxidants. Antioxidants can be obtained from the diet in foods such as fresh vegetables and fruits, although the levels are not high enough to combat the amount of free radicals that we are exposed to. There are various different types of antioxidants that are available to take as a supplement. Research has found that taking combination of these supplements has a synergistic effect in reducing free radical damage. Co-enzyme Q10. This is a vital nutrient in the body that has many functions, and there are many studies that support the use of Co-enzyme Q10 in heart disease. Co-enzyme Q10 also has antioxidant activity. If you are taking a statin for cholesterol, you should supplement with this nutrient, as statins lower levels of coenzyme-Q10 in the body. Acai. This is one of the most well known antioxidants on the market today. Acai berries are mostly found in Brazil and Peru. Because of the hype that is surround this product many companies are manufacturing acai capsules and juice. Please check the quality of the company before making a purchase. Selenium is a mineral that is found in almonds and brazil nuts. Apart from being a good antioxidant, this mineral has many health benefits such as supporting the immune system and reproductive system. Studies have shown that supplementing with a dose of 200mcg of Selenium once a day can have a beneficial action on the heath of the prostate gland in men. Alpha-Lipoic Acid is sometimes referred to as the “universal” antioxidant because it is both water and fat soluble. This means that it can neutralise free radicals that are in fatty and watery parts of the cells. Alpha-Lipoic Acid can increase the effect of other antioxidants if taken together. Other valuable antioxidants are Vitamin E, which  is a fat soluble and has beneficial action on the cardiac system, and Vitamin C which is water soluble and also is an immune...

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What are Free Radicals?

Have you been wondering what are free radicals? The chemical definition of a free radical is an atom or a group of atoms that contain at least one unpaired electron. Electrons are essential to provide a chemically stable atom. An unpaired electron is very reactive and will join to other atoms and this will cause a chemical reaction. Free radicals in the body are also very reactive and will react with other compounds leading to chemical changes in the body. It is these changes that can lead to illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and arthritis. The presence of large numbers of free radicals can alter the cells of our genetic material which could lead to various auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and cancer.Natural processes in the body can result in free radicals being produced, but these are usually in very small amounts that are not harmful. We are continually exposed to free radicals in our environment. Free radicals can be found in pollution, radiation, food preservatives, cigarette smoke and car fumes. A diet high in saturated fat can lead to an increase in free radicals as the process of heating oil can produce a large number of free...

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