Living Healthy with Diabetes

An astonishing one in four people above the age of 65 have adult-onset (type 2) diabetes. Even more have prediabetes—a condition close to, but not yet diabetes. Though it’s exceedingly common, neither type 2 diabetes nor prediabetes should be taken lightly. If not well managed, diabetes can lead to debilitating health problems.

What is type 2 diabetes?

Your pancreas is a busy organ, with one of its most important roles being to make insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels by acting like a key that unlocks the cell’s ability to take in sugar for energy.

As you may already know, or could at least guess, since there is a type 2 diabetes, there is also a type 1. Type 1 diabetes is a condition in which the person with this disease does not produce insulin. Those with type 2 diabetes do produce insulin, but their cells don’t use it as well as they should, so it’s also called insulin resistance.

With type 2 diabetes, because the cells are unable to take up the circulating sugar, blood sugar can rise—or “spike”—after a meal. Rather than feeling energized and full of vigour though, spiking blood sugar can trigger sluggishness and even extreme exhaustion in some cases.

The problems associated with diabetes

Diabetics must learn to identify symptoms that their blood sugar levels are problematic. Sweating, a rapid heartbeat, slurred speech, numbness in the fingers and toes, headache, and feeling anxious, sleepy, or confused are all signs alerting to dysregulated blood sugar.

Over time, poorly managed diabetes may cause atherosclerosis—or hardening of the arteries—that can lead to heart disease or stroke. It can also lead to vision loss, kidney failure, nerve pain, and more.

Preventing dangerous spikes in blood sugar

One of the most common risk factors for getting type 2 diabetes is being overweight or obese. Though people who aren’t overweight can also end up with diabetes, extra pounds increase the risk. Eating healthy and exercising regularly are two of the most important actions a person can take to decrease the risk of ending up with type 2 diabetes, as well as managing the disease itself.

Fortunately, nature has also provided some herbs—including Japanese red reishi mushroom—that can help you get your blood sugar levels under control.

Hailed as the “Mushroom of Immortality” in the Far East, reishi mushrooms have been used to treat a long list of ailments for over 2000 years. Though Traditional Chinese Medicine doctors have long used red reishi (called ling zhi), to treat diabetes, research is now catching up with how it works.

Studies have found compounds—including polysaccharides—in red reishi mushrooms that help treat and manage diabetes by improving insulin resistance, lowering blood sugar levels, stopping the liver from releasing too much glucose, and decreasing the fat to body weight ratio.

Three Simple Ways to Stabilize Blood Sugar Levels

As anyone struggling to keep their blood sugar levels under control can tell you, eating too much processed sugar can result in weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, as well as some forms of cancer.

Mastering your blood sugar will not only minimize your risk of blood sugar-related diseases, but also help improve energy levels, lower cravings, stabilize your mood, and balance your hormones. If you are looking to avoid a Halloween hangover this October, here are some useful suggestions to help you manage your blood sugar this ghoulish season.

Make Time for Breakfast

One of the best ways to keep your blood sugar in check is to eat a healthy breakfast. Ignoring the signals to fuel up in the morning, and skipping the most important meal of the day can disrupt your body’s blood sugar levels and metabolic function. Whether you opt for some oatmeal, veggie omelet, a smoothie, or some other nutritious first meal, a healthy breakfast will help prevent erratic blood sugar levels throughout the day and stop you from eating too much at night.

Eat Regular Meals

Apart from a healthy breakfast, it is also important to eat regular meals, making sure to have a small meal or snack every 3-4 hours. Try eating foods rich in plant protein, healthy fats, and magnesium—great options that will help stabilize blood sugar—and avoid processed foods. Whenever possible, it is also good idea to eat your meals at the same time every day to help systemize the hunger response, alerting your body when it is time to fuel up.

Maintain a Healthy Balance with Fibre, Protein, and Good Fats

Fibre, protein, and good fats are essential for regulating your blood sugar. This powerful combination slows the release of sugars into the bloodstream, as well as delays digestion, keeping you full longer throughout the course of the day. In place of processed foods, consume healthy options, including fruit, oatmeal, veggies, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds, fatty fish, avocados, and plant protein like tempeh. For the best results, try to eat at least 5-10 grams of fibre and 10-15 grams of protein for every meal.

Consume Reishi Mushrooms

Known as the “Mushroom of Immortality”—a moniker that aptly says it all— reishi mushroom (or Ganoderma lucidum) has been used for thousands of years for its many medicinal benefits. Reishi mushrooms are rich in polysaccharides—complex carbohydrates known to help stabilize blood sugar, regulate blood pressure, and produce antioxidants that may safeguard the body from cancer-causing free radicals. Taking care of your blood sugar throughout the day is one of the best things you can do to help stay healthy. With the right food and Japanese Red Reishi, your metabolism, mood, and energy will be running at peak performance.