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Moringa For Diabetes:
It can grow almost 10 feet per year in peak conditions, yet will even produce pods filled with moringa seeds in times of drought. It is bursting with antioxidants, vitamins, and amino acids that can help with many health conditions like high cholesterol, high blood sugar, skin conditions, digestive health, and even water purification. The cuttings and branches can be used for animal feed or mulch, so literally nothing is wasted. According to Dr. Axe, in 2008 the National Institute of Health called moringa (moringa oleifera) the “plant of the year,” acknowledging that “perhaps like no other single species, this plant has the potential to help reverse multiple major environmental problems and provide for many unmet human needs.” It is quite an amazing tree!
The top uses of moringa are the leaves, powder, seeds, or oil extracted from the seeds. Moringa leaves can be steeped into a tea or used in cooking for stews and other dishes. The powder can be sprinkled into recipes, used as a tea, or encapsulated to make into a daily supplement. The oil is typically used for skin conditions, such as acne, to prevent scarring, for psoriasis / eczema, rashes, and other skin irritations.
Moringa Seeds and Diabetes
Moringa oleifera seeds come from the pods on the moringa tree. An average size moringa tree is about 15-20 feet high, each pod is about a foot in length, and can produce about a dozen seeds. The seeds have two flaps on them, making sure these ‘wings’ enable them to fly away from the mother tree to germinate far and wide. The trees produce seeds annually, yet each harvest can yield hundreds to thousands of seeds. Let’s talk about how these seeds can impact your blood sugar, which is an important factor in diabetes.
What Does Blood Sugar Do ?
Your blood sugar is the sugar that is being transported to all the cells of your body for energy. Our bodies are the most amazing machines – we automatically regulate the amount of sugar in our bloodstream so it is not too high or not too low. According to Divine Health the bloodstream can only handle about 5 grams of glucose at any one time, which is equal to 1 teaspoon (1). The sugar in our bloodstream is called glucose, and it is natural for blood sugar to rise after eating, and then fall an hour or so after eating. The only way we can actually use this glucose for energy is if there is insulin in the bloodstream as well. No insulin = cell starvation. After we eat, the pancreas releases insulin to the bloodstream so the glucose can be transported. If there is too much glucose in the body, it gets stored as glycogen in the liver and muscle tissue. When there are periods of fasting, the glycogen can be broken down to be used as glucose. According to Medical News Today, in healthy people fasting blood sugar levels should be below 99 mg/dL. The American Diabetes Association recommend target levels for a diabetic to be 70-130 mg/dL before eating and less than 180 mg/dL two hours after eating.
Why Is Blood Sugar Important ?
Too much blood sugar in your bloodstream is toxic and cannot stay there long-term. Lower blood sugar means there is a more steady window of peaks and valleys of insulin that gets released, glucose that gets used up, or stored in the liver as glycogen to be used later. Huge spikes in sugar that you get from candy or soda means your pancreas is working very hard to push insulin in your bloodstream, usually followed by a big dip. This is what people call “the sugar high,” and “sugar crash.” The glycemic index is the affect of certain foods on your bloodstream. Glucose (sugar) is 100 on the index, and 55 or lower is considered a “low glycemic food.” Vegetables, have a low glycemic index because they release steady energy slowly. For example, peas are 39, carrots are 19, broccoli is 10, cauliflower is 15, and kale is 2-4. High glycemic foods are cakes, candy, pasta, rice, white potatoes, raisins, bread, soda, cookies and crackers.
What is Insulin Resistance ?
Less than 1% of the pancreas’s job is making insulin, so eventually it gets worn out and stops working if there is improper glucose regulation over a period of time. The adrenals release cortisol, also known by many as the ‘stress hormone’, when blood sugar gets too low. Imagine this extreme back and forth happening all day, every day? Too much sugar in the bloodstream means the pancreas releases even more insulin to put that glucose in cells, but if the cells of the muscles and liver are full, it just keeps circulating in the blood. Eventually, this can lead to insulin resistance, which is a risk factor for developing pre-diabetes and diabetes. According to Medical News Today, American Heart Association (AHA) say that about 50% of people with high blood sugar develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years. Risk factors for insulin resistance are obesity (especially abdominal obesity), non-activity, smoking, and sleep issues. Prevention of insulin resistance and pre-diabetes / diabetes is purely lifestyle choices; eat better and exercise.
What is Diabetes ?
Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic diseases where people usually have a triad of symptoms: polyuria (frequent urination), extreme thirst (polydipsia) and extreme hunger (polyphagia). Diabetes affect’s the body’s ability to produce or use insulin (which remember is a hormone that turns glucose, or sugar, into energy). Diabetes is one of the biggest health problems in our society today. According to Medical News Today, about 90% of all cases worldwide are Type 2 Diabetes, where there is an improper function of insulin. Type 2 is usually a progressive disease unless there are lifestyle changes like diet, exercise, and often medication like insulin. In the journal Diabetologia, researchers found drinking just one (non-diet) soda per day can increase our risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 22%. There is also Type 1 diabetes, where no insulin is produced, and gestational diabetes, which happens during some pregnancies. All types of diabetes are treatable.
What are the Complications of Diabetes?
Long-term complications of diabetes include damage to the large blood vessels of the heart, brain, and legs and small blood vessels of the eyes, kidneys, and nerves. It can also increase the risk of other conditions like cataracts, glaucoma, and nerve damage in the feet. More susceptibility to infections, impaired wound healing, greater risk of stroke, hearing loss, gum disease, and kidney disease are just a few of the many symptoms and conditions that occur if diabetes is not treated properly.
How Can Moringa Help With Diabetes?
According to Doctor’s Health Press, a 2014 study published in Acta Histochemica reported that moringa oleifera seeds can lower blood sugar levels in rats. Another study in the Journal of Diabetes found that moringa pod extract helped to increase insulin production and protein levels and reduce blood glucose levels. Moringa is rich in antioxidants which can prevent free radical damage.
Kulikuli found some great clinical research studies on the effects of moringa on blood glucose levels:
* In a study with diabetic rats, moringa led to an increase of three major enzymes that fight free radicals and showed a decrease of body lipids (fats) (Jaiswal et al. 2013).
* In another study by Jaiswal et al. (2009), they found moringa to be effective to reduce blood glucose levels in normal rats as well as high blood glucose rats.
* Ndong et al. (2006) found that the fiber-richness of moringa slowed down the update of glucose by the blood and other parts of the body, which improved glucose tolerance, by slowing the rate of food passing through the digestive system which allows more time for absorption and improved glucose level balance.
* Giridhari et al. (2011) researched a human trial of a moringa leaf tablet combined with a calorie-controlled diet, which reduced blood glucose levels in diabetics over 3 months.
* Lastly, Jaiswal et al. 2009 found that moringa was more effective at lowering blood glucose than pharmaceuticals!
Of course consult your doctor before starting or changing any health regimen or medication that was prescribed to you. We are excited to offer some insight into natural, safe, and cost-effective management tools for overall wellness.
Best in Health,
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