Welcome to Diabetes Prevention Thursdays! Today, let’s talk about vitamin C as a natural barrier for diabetics against viruses. Vitamin C is an incredibly important part of your immune system and your health in general. Vitamin C deficit once frequently caused a disease known as scurvy, but low vitamin C can also cause you to have a much weaker immune system among a bunch of other issues.
Most people associate vitamin C with citrus fruits, such as lemons, limes, oranges, and more. While those are good sources of vitamin C, theyre also high in sugars, making them a poor option for most diabetics.
You might think that the next best option is to take supplement pills, but there’s another fruit out there that can give you more than enough vitamin C. Bell peppers are low in sugars and carbs, but have even more vitamin C than citrus fruits.
In fact, as little as one cup of bell peppers can get you more than 100% of your daily value of vitamin C. Vitamin C is important for your immune system because it helps with the production and function of many different immune system cells.
Without it, you may either produce weak immune cells or very few immune cells. It has also been shown to help decrease your chances of getting a few different types of cancer.
This vitamin doesnt just help with your immune system, though. It’s also very helpful for diabetics in general, and thats for a few different reasons. One of the most impressive reasons is that it helps manage your blood glucose levels, which is naturally very important for diabetics.
It can also help keep your blood pressure under control in many situations, something that those with type 2 diabetes experience rather often. One of the more unconventional benefits of vitamin C is that it helps with skincare.
Surprisingly enough, it was found to help people develop clearer skin when they were getting enough of it. This might be more important to diabetics, since they often struggle with skin problems as a result of their condition.
Bell peppers can be added to almost any food, whether it be on the side, mixed in, or as a snack eaten all on its own. Theyre readily available at most grocery stores or local farmers markets, and theyre absolutely great for your health.
Try mixing things up by adding them into whatever youre having for dinner as soon as you can, because the more vitamin C you can get, the better.
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I wanted to talk about this topic because it is absolutely possible to prevent and even reverse Type 2 Diabetes (but you cannot reverse Type 1). Yes, it’s possible! and emerging studies looking at lifestyle medicine and prevention support this! But I always tell my patients that you must be dedicated and diligent in adopting a healthy lifestyle to get the best results. You can create certain behaviors and practices that will not only enrich your life, but that you can pass on to your family, friends, and community, to help break the cycle of this chronic disease so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.
I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle practices, such as eating a whole-food plant-based diet and regular physical activity, can help you improve your blood sugar levels, maybe reverse type 2 diabetes. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy. But I always tell my patients that conventional medications may be appropriate at this time to prevent catastrophic illness, but over time, you can work to make the necessary lifestyle changes to possibly reduce and/or eliminate medications. Please remember to always consult your physician for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any decisions whatsoever.
Tools For Diabetes Prevention and Monitoring
Blood Sugar Monitoring
As you know, I always stress the importance of taking control of your health. Monitoring your blood sugar levels is one of the best ways to do this. To do this, a single drop of blood is collected with disposable lancets and placed on a disposable test strip, which you insert into a home blood-sugar monitoring device, called a glucometer.
The common times for checking your blood sugar are when you first wake up (fasting), before a meal, 2 hours after a meal, and at bedtime; however, you should check your blood sugar as many times a day as your health care team suggests.
Monitoring your blood sugar level provides you and your doctors with important knowledge about how food, activity, medication, stress, and other elements might affect your blood sugar levels. This data will assist you and your doctor in developing a therapy plan that is suited to your demands.
Since weight management is very important in combatting chronic diseases such as diabetes, I recommend that you be mindful of your weight and its fluctuations, and that you monitor your weight AT LEAST on a weekly basis. I recommend a scale that includes a body composition monitor (*this scale cannot be used with a pacemaker or other implanted devices).
Physical activity (or exercise) can improve your health and reduce the risk of developing several chronic diseases like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, just to name a few. Physical activity actually improves insulin sensitivity. Physical activity can improve your mood, boost your immune system, and even help you maintain a healthy weight.
I often recommend yoga and resistance training for physical activity, but as you are aware, there are plenty of forms of “movement” that you can do! But for the basics, especially if you’re just getting started, yoga and resistance training are where I would start.
Yoga can be a great way to improve your strength and flexibility, manage your stress, improve your heart health, and lose weight! I recommend using a grounded yoga mat to connect yourself with the earth and reduce inflammation.
Resistance training is the mainstay for overall health. It not only has beneficial effects on reducing body fat, it also increases muscle size and strength. Here are some basic dumbbells/free weights that I recommend to everyone.
Remember, living a healthy lifestyle including eating a whole foods plant-based diet and regular physical activity are the best ways to prevent diabetes. Please talk with your doctor about any complementary health approaches, including supplements, you use. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.
PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.
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