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Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Jordan

Diabetes is one of the biggest health issues in America, contributing to the leading causes of death heart disease, stroke and cancer. Fortunately, research continues to show that a plant-based diet and lifestyle changes may be the optimal solution for improving the symptoms of diabetes.

Diabetes is caused by insulin resistance in our bodies, which is thought to be caused by lipotoxicity, a consequence of the accumulation of fat within our muscle cells. As dietary fat bloats our adipose cells, fat spills over into the bloodstream and gets into our muscle cells, while simultaneously promoting insulin resistance and raising blood sugar levels. Diabetes is also associated with metabolic syndrome, a medical disorder characterized by abdominal obesity, high fasting sugars, high triglycerides, and high blood pressure.

A plant-based diet is recommended in a review published by Kaiser Permanente to help improve many chronic diseases including diabetes. Plants may even be more effective than pharmaceutical drugs in preventing diabetes. Whole grains and fiber-rich foods work best in regulating blood sugar levels, lowering cholesterol, weight, and increasing satiety. The daily consumption of foods such as oatmeal, beans (also see here), tea, nuts, flaxseed, acai berries, amla, vinegar, and cinnamon may improve signs and symptoms associated with diabetes.

There are also foods to avoid when treating and preventing diabetes. Fruit juices (but not whole fruit), poultry and fish increase uric acid levels within the body and may put an individual at risk for diabetes including gestational diabetes.


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