Plant extracts are used in the treatment of diabetes. Bitter gourd, onion and fenugreek are some of the herbs that can be used in the treatment for diabetes. Bitter melon or gourd comprises an insulin-like protein, known as polypeptide-P, which works like insulin in the body. Researches claim that a unique phyto-constituent is also found in bitter melon that has a hypoglycemic effect called charantin, which helps lower blood sugar levels. Its fruit is used as a medicine as it is rich in phosphorous, which helps clean the blood. Scientists assert that regular yet controlled use of bitter gourd can help fight many diabetes-related disorders. Excessive use of bitter melon can cause diarrhea and abdominal pain. Pregnant women should consult their dietician before using bitter melon. Before consuming bitter gourd on a regular basis, diabetics should consult their doctor.
Clinical evidence shows that onion consists of allyl propyl disulphide, APDS, an active ingredient that prevents the liver from breaking down insulin and regulates its production by the pancreas. This way, this onion ingredient helps increase the amount of insulin, which is so dearly required by the body to regulate sugar levels in the blood.
Clinical tests have shown that fenugreek holds antidiabetic properties. The tests have found that fenugreek seeds are rich in fiber, which can effectively lower blood sugar levels and also blood cholesterol to some extent. Moreover, studies also claim that fenugreek’s soluble fiber content can help weight control. However, pregnant ladies should not use fenugreek. It should be taken only after consulting a physician.
Saturated fats fall under the category of harmful fats for diabetics and heart patients, as these raise blood cholesterol, which poses a grave risk of heart disease. Diabetics are more prone to heart diseases and thus should limit their intake of saturated fats and rather opt for unsaturated fats, such as vegetable oil and fish oil. According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetics should consume unsaturated fats; however, the consumption of these fats should also be regulated because these are high in calories and can cause weight gain, though not as dangerous as saturated or trans fats.
Diabetes should be controlled by changing your eating habits and making some lifestyle changes, such as indulging in some sort of physical activity daily. Diabetics should eat a healthy balanced diet with less amounts of carbohydrates and calories. Diabetics should eat green vegetables and fruits because they contain a large amount of fiber, which slows down digestion and controls blood sugar in your body. Fiber also keeps the cholesterol level limited as it controls bile acid.
A healthy diet and lifestyle can help diabetics control blood sugar levels. In addition, a diabetic should check his blood glucose level regularly, consult his physician and dietitian and adhere to their advice.