Two major indicators of chronic disease are blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Diabetes is at epidemic proportions, affecting over 34.2 million Americans. A whopping 102 million of us suffer from high cholesterol, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which may contribute to cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke.
The good news is there are simple changes you can make to your lifestyle that may help reduce high blood sugar levels that can lead to diabetes, and lower total cholesterol without the potentially unpleasant and even dangerous side effects of prescription drugs.
“The most powerful intervention a person can make to lower both their blood sugar and cholesterol is to eat more vegetables and beans and fewer animal products, flour and oil,” says leading expert Dr. Joel Fuhrman M.D., author of two authoritative books on this topic, "The End of Diabetes" and "The End of Heart Disease."
“It’s almost always better to choose natural ways to lower your levels than to resort to pharmaceuticals that may have nasty side effects,” Dr. Ellen Kamhi, Ph.D., a natural health expert for over four decades and the author of "The Natural Medicine Chest," says.
Here are eight ways to safely achieve a healthy blood sugar and cholesterol profile:
- Have at least one large, green salad daily, says Fuhrman. “Do not use an oil-based dressing. Choose a nut or seed dressing such as almonds blended with tomato and balsamic vinegar.”
- Make your dinner the lightest meal of the day. “This is the second most important intervention to prevent and even reverse diabetes and heart disease,” notes Fuhrman.
- Spice up your meals with cinnamon. Kamhi says that cinnamon has been used since ancient times for its flavor, aroma, and medicinal benefits. “A study in the journal Diabetes supports the use of cinnamon to help balance blood sugar,” she tells Newsmax.
- Exercise. Exercise is an important cholesterol regulator and has been linked to decreased total cholesterol levels. “Any form of regular exercise is acceptable as long as it is practiced 30-45 minutes, six days a week,” she advises. According to a 2008 study, after one week of aerobic exercise participants with type 2 diabetes had improved their whole-body insulin sensitivity.
- Add red yeast rice and aged garlic extract. Dr. Matthew Budoff, professor of medicine at UCLA and endowed chair of preventative cardiology, says that these two natural substances can be used together to help lower cholesterol significantly. According to a recent study, garlic also has the potential to manage blood sugar levels and can lower fasting blood glucose.
- Control stress. Stress can cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate, and according to experts, people under intense stress often will neglect their diabetes care, further exacerbating the situation, according to Healthline. There is also compelling evidence that your level of stress can cause an increase in bad cholesterol.
- Dress your food with apple cider vinegar. This food is a powerhouse for health. It promotes weight loss, reduces cholesterol, and helps lower blood sugar levels according to numerous studies conducted by the National Institutes of Health. Use it on salads, vegetables or drink it diluted with water.
- Eat oatmeal for breakfast. Noted expert Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum tells Newsmax that an oat-based cereal — whether it is cooked oatmeal or Cheerios, Life, or Quaker Oatmeal Squares — helps keep cholesterol levels within a healthy range.
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