Diabetes is one of the most prevalent diseases to plague culture. According to the National Diabetes Statistics Report, approximately 29.1 million Americans, or 9.3 percent of the population, had diabetes in 2012. To make matters worse, 208,000 people in that pool were below the age of 20. According to the World Health Organization, the number of people with diabetes is expected to double by the year 2030.
Fortunately, diabetes can be avoided and treated without prescription drugs. The following is a list of the top 10 best organic foods to help prevent and treat this debilitating disease.
Apples are sweet but not too sweet
1. Apples are often portrayed as the forbidden fruit of the Garden of Eden, but this crunchy sweet is by no means tainted. In a study consisting of 200,000 people led by the Harvard School of Public Health, participants who ate five or more apples a week were 23 percent less likely to develop type-2 diabetes than those who did not.
Antioxidants in blueberries can significantly reduce risk of type-2 diabetes
2. Blueberries are among a family of fruits that contain flavonoids, which are antioxidants known for their health benefits. What distinguishes blueberries from their berry brethren is a specific type of antioxidant known as anthocyanins, which paint the blueberries blue. Researchers from the UK, US and Singapore found in a study consisting of 187,000 people that replacing fruit juice with blueberries reduced the risk of type-2 diabetes by 33 percent, a percentage higher than any other fruit in the study.
Broccoli can reverse heat damage in diabetics
3. Mother’s wisdom reminded us to eat broccoli, and for good reason. According to research from University’s Warwick Medical School, a compound in broccoli known as sulforaphane can help reverse damage to the heart and blood vessels for diabetics. The research team saw a reduction in the amount reactive oxygen species (ROS) molecules which, in high amounts, can damage the body’s cells. Diabetics with high blood pressure had three times the normal amount of ROSs. The team found that sulforaphane reversed this increase by 73 percent. Just another reason to follow Mom’s orders.
Carrots can treat diabetes even for people with a genetic predisposition for the disease
4. Carrots are a rich source of vitamin A made from the antioxidant beta-carotene. According to a report in the journal Human Genetics, the antioxidant can help lower the risk for type-2 diabetes for people who have a genetic predisposition for the disease. In the analysis, the researchers compared the genome of people with the disease to people without the disease. Approximately 50 to 60 percent of Americans contain two copies of a gene variant that is associated with an increased risk for type-2 diabetes. The team found that a high amount of beta-carotene was associated with lower blood-glucose levels in participants who carried two copies of the gene.
All hail kale
5. In the last few years, kale has skyrocketed in popularity. In addition to providing more than 100 percent of the recommended daily intake for vitamins A and K, kale is associated with a reduced risk for type-2 diabetes. Research reveals that consuming one and a half servings of green leafy vegetables, like kale, a day can lower the risk of type-2 diabetes by 14 percent.
Dried cranberries are a good source of fiber for diabetics
6. Sweetened dried cranberries, like blueberries, have been shown to reduce levels of insulin for type-2 diabetics. Fiber is a key component lacking in the diet of many diabetics. Dried cranberries are high in fiber and low in sugar, which can help the body regulate blood sugar.
Red grapefruit can increase good cholesterol for diabetics
7. Red grapefruit is known for its sweetness, juiciness and ruby red color. It also can help improve HDL cholesterol or “good” cholesterol for diabetics. Multiple studies have attested that eating or a drinking a half cup of grapefruit juice a day can significantly increase HDL cholesterol. In addition, research from the University of California, Berkeley, suggests that grapefruit juice can help lower glucose levels as effectively as a prescription drug.
Avocados decrease the risk for type-2 diabetes
8. Avocados are widely known as a source for healthy, unsaturated fats. But did you also know that they mitigate the risk for diabetes? A 2008 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discovered that women who ate the highest amounts of good fats, as found in avocados, were 25 percent less likely to develop type-2 diabetes than women who consumed the least amount of good fat.
Red onions lower glucose levels in typ-1 and -2 diabetics
9. Readers may be surprised to find that red onions made the list for foods that help prevent diabetes. Red onions have more antioxidants than their yellow and white cousins. In addition, they have a high dietary content of the flavonoid quercetin, which is a compound known to promote a healthy heart. In a study published in the journal Environmental Health Insights, researchers found that consuming red onions helped lower glucose levels in type-1 and type-2 diabetics.
Tomatoes help prevent stroke and heart attack in diabetics
10. In the spirit of red food, tomatoes are another way to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke for diabetics. Lycopene and beta-carotene are two powerful antioxidants in tomatoes that help reduce blood pressure by acting as a blood thinner. In one study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, type-2 diabetics who ate a daily dose of 200 grams of raw tomato for two weeks significantly lowered their blood pressure.
Food is the source of many diseases that scourge society, including diabetes. Luckily, as this list has shown, it is also the cure.