Ginger, a centuries-old remedy for treating ailments ranging from the common cold, motion sickness, indigestion, and inflammation, boasts yet another benefit to its list: Type 2 Diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes & Common Treatments
Type 2 diabetes is basically when your body doesn’t use insulin properly resulting in your blood sugar to rise higher than normal. Your pancreas makes too much insulin and over the long term, isn’t properly able to keep your blood sugar at normal levels. This seems rather straightforward, however, the ordinary treatments are anything but. Common medications prescribed for Type 2 diabetes include Metformin, Glucophage, Glumetza, Glucotrol, DPP-4 inhibitors such as Januvia and Onglyzia. A few newer medications to add to that list; Invokana and Farxiga, which claim side effects of urinary tract infections and yeast infections, to name a few. In addition, insulin therapy is also still prescribed and, in extreme cases, Bariatric surgery is performed for individuals whose BMI is above range(35 and higher). Aside from diabetes, your risk is also increased for heart disease, cancer, stroke, and high blood pressure.
Ginger & Type 2 Diabetes
While ginger has strong anti-inflammatory properties, it has been shown to treat more than just chronic inflammation. A recent study, double-blind placebo-controlled, viewed changes in lipid profiles, glycemic indices and inflammatory markers. The results were pretty impressive; “1600 milligrams of ginger root a day, taken for 12 weeks improved glucose control(fasting blood, sugar, hemoglobin Alc, and insulin levels).” Furthermore, individuals with non-insulin dependent diabetes who ate ginger root regularly had significant reductions in their C-reactive protein(an inflammatory marker) after 12 weeks. Another clinical trial also revealed that supplementing with 3 grams of ginger for 4 weeks, reduced total cholesterol, triglycerides and, blood glucose level. Theoretically, ginger is beneficial because it has the ability to increase insulin sensitivity, it can interfere with enzymes in the metabolism of carbohydrates and can improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Looking at the data, it seems that ginger can be quite effective at decreasing insulin resistance and serum glucose levels by inhibiting certain intestinal enzymes through its polyphenol and flavonoid activity.
Even though we just went over some studies that had phenomenal results with Type 2 diabetes, we must not forget that one extremely important component of the puzzle is a healthy diet and lifestyle. I can not stress enough diet and lifestyle modifications being of utmost importance. the focus should be on healthy amounts of fats, adequate amounts of good quality protein and reducing your carbohydrate intake. In addition, you want to increase your fiber intake which will help with regulating blood sugar and aiding in the feeling of satiety. Choose foods that are nutrient dense and low glycemic.
Here is a list of some low glycemic foods:
- Grass Fed and Organic: beef, bison, ostrich, chicken, turkey, pork
- Wild Fish: Alaskan Salmon, sardines, mackerel, anchovies, scallops, shrimp( free of sodium pyrophosphate)
- Organic Veggies: Beets, squash, kale, swiss chard, leafy greens, spinach, romaine, green beans, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, arugula, celery, onions, peppers
- Low glycemic fruits: raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, kiwi, lemon and lime
Exercising for just 30 minutes a day 4-5 times a week has shown to help with not only improving general physical health but also lowering blood glucose levels. When you are physically active, it allows your cells to utilize glucose for energy. In addition, insulin sensitivity is improved and your cells can use insulin to take in glucose during exercising and after. It’s very important to stay active!
Diabetes can seem difficult to manage but it can truly be taken care of and even reversed through healthy lifestyle modifications. Always seek the help of your doctor or health care provider and always keep a good support system of family and friends.
Haas III, William. “The Role of Ginger in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.” AHC Media Continuing Medical Education Publishing RSS. AHC Media, 1 Aug. 2015. Web. 10 Sept. 2015. <http://www.ahcmedia.com/>