According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 21 million people in the United States are living with diabetes. Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce insulin at all, or doesn't properly use the insulin it does produce. People need insulin, which is a hormone, to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy the body needs to function in normal, daily life. Many people with diabetes have or will eventually develop serious complications from the disease. Among the many complications are kidney disease, nerve damage, amputations, heart disease and blindness.
INTERESTING OPTIONS: Watching what you eat is crucial for diabetics. What you don't eat too much of -- like sugar -- is important. But there are some unexpected additions diabetics can make to their diet that may keep their disease in check. Cinnamon -- A substance found in cinnamon known as MHCP, has been shown in clinical research to rekindle the ability of fat cells in diabetics to respond to insulin and greatly increased glucose removal. Researchers recommend a quarter teaspoon to one whole teaspoon of the spice everyday. Pomegranates -- A little red fruit popular in India and the Middle East, pomegranates are proven to have health benefits ranging from prostate cancer protection to osteoarthritis prevention. In other studies, pomegranates have been shown to keep your heart healthy, and research out of Israel reveals pomegranate juice may have important health benefits for patients with diabetes. Diabetic patients who drank 6 ounces of pomegranate juice a day for three months were at less risk for atherosclerosis -- which leads to the arteries thickening and hardening -- and accounts for 80 percent of all deaths among diabetics. Researchers say one surprising finding from the study was that the sugars in the juice did not worsen patients' blood sugar levels but did in fact contribute to reducing atherosclerosis risk.Vinegar -- Spikes in blood sugar after meals are dangerous to diabetics. Recent research showed two tablespoons of vinegar before meals cut the sudden spike in blood sugar after meals in all subjects. For diabetics, blood sugar was 25-percent lower. Even those without the disease but who were at risk for diabetes did even better with a 50-percent drop in blood sugar levels.
SOURCE: Atherosclerosis, published online Aug. 25, 2006