A recent Harvard study, published in the American Medical Association Journal, Circulation, showed that diabetic women who ate the most high fiber whole grain foods had a significantly lower death rate than diabetic women who ate the least amount of high fiber foods.
The study found that a high fiber diet reduces heart attacks, strokes and the total death rate.
But thatís not all. Although this research project just focused on diabetic women, many other studies have shown that high fiber foods offer heart health protection to people in general.
Why Be Concerned About Diabetes?
Diabetes is a debilitating disease. Type 2 Diabetes is a major cause of blindness and kidney disease and is responsible for over 65,000 lower limb amputations a year.
If thatís not scary enough, diabetes is also deadly. Itís linked to nearly 250,000 deaths annually in the U.S., making it the seventh leading direct cause of death and a major contributing factor to heart disease - the number one cause of death.
Actually, the overall risk of death for diabetics is twice that of non-diabetics.
Whatís even scarier? Type 2 diabetes (adult onset diabetes), which is related to excess weight and sedentary lifestyle, has risen by 20% in the last ten years among U.S. children.
Why? According to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three times as many children and teens today are obese compared to a generation ago.
But the good news is that type 2 diabetes is not difficult to prevent. And itís never too late to start, especially if youíre at an increased risk for the disease, for example, if you have a family history of diabetes or are carrying around a lot of extra pounds.
Fiber Ė a natural type 2 diabetes medicine
Most people know eating a poor diet of white bread, white rice and white sugar (in all of its many forms and disguises) is unhealthy and can lead to debilitating and deadly diabetes. But do you know that adding more fiber to your daily diet may be the best natural medicine to both prevent and help keep diabetes under control?
One major six year study, for example, reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that women who ate a low fiber, high sugar diet had a two and a half times higher risk of getting diabetes than women who ate plenty of fiber.
Other studies have confirmed diabetics who eat a diet of whole grains, fruits and vegetables can reduce their blood sugar levels and possibly also reduce their need for medical intervention, either medication, dialysis or amputation.
A sugary low fiber diet stresses the pancreas by inducing a chronic demand for insulin.
This increased demand over time weakens the pancreas to the point where the pancreas is unable to produce the insulin the body needs when it needs it. This condition of insulin resistance is the most common cause of type 2 diabetes.
Fiber is rough and tough. Getting enough fiber in your daily diet reduces your bodyís need to produce insulin by slowing down the absorption time of carbohydrates.
Fiber, therefore, prevents blood sugar surges and the resulting consequences of diabetes.
What can you do to prevent diabetes?
If youíre eating a typical American diet, you need twice as much fiber as youíre probably getting right now. The average American only eats between 10 to 15 grams of fiber a day.
The recommendation is between 25 to 40 grams of daily fiber, depending on age and gender.
How do you get enough fiber? You can start by eating more whole grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds. For example, just five servings of either vegetables or fruits along with a couple of servings whole grains or beans supplies a healthy 25 grams of fiber to your daily diet.
To prevent diabetes, the American Diabetes Association recommends everyone lose weight through a program of increased physical activity and a healthy high fiber, low calorie diet.
Adopting a healthier lifestyle will lower your blood sugar, increase your sensitivity to insulin and help control your weight. Studies show that regular exercise along with a 5-7 % weight loss can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by 58%.
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Note: The information contained on this website is not intended to be prescriptive. Any attempt to diagnose or treat an illness should come under the direction of a physician who is familiar with nutritional therapy.