Known for its use in folk medicine for treating diabetes, bitter melon is also popular to eat in Asia

Diabetes is no joke. It can damage nerves, cause glaucoma and cataracts, hypertension, kidney disease, stroke and other diseases that could cost your life. Science has come up with a whole range of medicines to fight diabetes, and kidney transplants have become a common solution for diabetic sufferers. But why spend a small fortune on costly medicine, and an expensive kidney transplant when there’s a cheaper, just as effective solution which has no side effects?

That solution is bitter melon — that slender-stemmed annual vine with sweet-smelling yellow flowers and lobed leaves that is popular in Asia.  The Chinese varieties are longer and smoother, while their counterparts in India have shorter fruits and more textured skin.

Researchers at the American Botanical Council have good news for diabetics and their loved ones. They found that bitter melon can fight diabetes in more ways than one. Bitter melon can reduce body fat and abnormal triglyceride levels and lipoproteins (LDL) in the bloodstream. The medicinal food shields the liver from free radicals that cause diabetes and other diseases. It also reduces the risk of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver.

Bitter melon is not alone in its work as one of a diabetic patient’s best allies. It has lots of counterparts in natural medicine that fight this disease.

  •  Organic fruits and vegetables — Switch to organic fruits and vegetables and dairy from organic or cows that feed on grass alone. These may cost more, but the long-term benefits to your health are worth every penny you spend.
  •  A fasting-mimicking diet  A  diet low in calories and carbohydrates, and one which advocates eating small amounts of food a day helps reverse the harmful effects of Type-2 diabetes. The fasting-mimicking diet helps regenerate pancreas and manufacture new insulin cells.
  •  Ginseng tea — This flavorful tea lowers blood sugar levels and promotes energy and stamina.
  •  Spirulina — This superfood from microalgae is rich in vitamins and minters and stabilizes blood sugar levels. You may need to add it in a smoothie to neutralize the strong taste of spirulina.
  •  Chromium Picolinate — This combination of mineral chromium and amino acid picolinate helps stabilize blood sugar, helps absorb insulin, and move glucose from the bloodstream into the cells.
  •  Foods packed with fiber and complex carbohydrates — Foods rich in fiber lower blood sugar levels and make the body feel full, thus keeping you from eating too much. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, break down slowly in the body and make it possible for the body to release sugar in a steady stream into the bloodstream. Brown rice, whole grains, vegetables, beans and legumes are examples of these high-fiber foods packed with complex carbohydrates.
  • Natural sources of sugar — Choose honey and maple syrup over processed sweets that raise blood sugar levels like candy, soda, potato chips, and cookies. White rice, potatoes and fast food meals should be avoided. Go slow on honey and maple syrup, though, since they can lead to sugar spikes. Fruit should be taken in moderation. Stay away from gluten, cow’s milk, alcohol and refined oils like canola, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). (Related: 7 Reason You Should Limit Fructose Consumption.)
  • Vegetables, fish and dairy — Proteins from plants are low in saturated fats. They supply fiber and protein as well. Dairy products like yogurt from pasteurized cows and other animals have less sugar. These dairy products are sources of protein, carbohydrates, and probiotics. Fish are rich sources of protein, amino acids, and fatty acids like omega-3. It’s also low in saturated fat.

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Diabetes is no longer the death sentence it used to be. With the right lifestyle, remedies from nature, and the proper diet, diabetics can kick the disease out of their system and look forward to a healthy, happy life.

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