Health Alert: Diabetes Affecting Many Latinos/Hispanics
Diabetes Mellitus (Type II) is one of the most serious health problems facing the Latinos/Hispanics in the United States. It is estimated that a Latino born today has a 50% chance of developing diabetes in his/her lifetime. Currently, it is estimated that 10% of Latinos have diabetes and 1/3 of those do not even know they have it. Having diabetes increases your risk of cardiovascular disease (ex. heart attacks, high blood pressure, stroke), amputation, blindness, kidney failure, impotence, nerve damage, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. It is the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States and it has increased 700% in the past 50 years.
The good news is that not only is diabetes (Type II) completely preventable, but it is possibly curable for most people willing to put the time and effort in making the necessary changes in their eating and lifestyle habits.
Below are 10 important tips that can help you prevent diabetes or assist someone that already has the disease.
1 Avoid simple sugars – such as bread, white rice, potatoes, chips, sodas (even diet soda), fruit juice and high-fructose corn syrup. Instead, eat more anti-diabetic complex carbohydrates such as those found in fresh leafy green vegetables, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, raw beets and carrots. The best fruits for diabetics are all the colorful berries, cherries, pomegranates, grapefruit, lemons, limes. A great substitute for white rice is the super grain from South America called Quinoa. If you want to sweeten a drink or food, use natural sweeteners such as stevia, yacon root syrup, cinnamon or cardamom. Avoid artificial sweeteners such as sucralose and aspartame as they can disrupt normal metabolism and can actually increase appetite.
2 Eat healthy “fat” – such as those found in avocados, coconuts, nuts such as almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, macadamias and seeds such as sunflower, pumpkin, sesame. Eat healthy fish such as sardines and wild salmon which are full of omega 3 , an essential oil which is very deficient in the diabetic and general population. Consider supplementing daily with at least 1000 gm of a good quality fish oil or even better, take krill oil which has 50X more antioxidant power. Avoid cooked fats such as cooked meats, pasteurized milk, cheese or fruit yogurt. Avoid processed or fried oils such as corn, canola, safflower oils and the very harmful partially hydrogenated or trans fats. If you love seafood, try “spicy” Peruvian ceviche. It is “cooked” with lemon juice using no heat, and it is absolutely delicious and healthy.
3 Drink more water – most people with diabetes are chronically dehydrated. Make it a habit to drink 1 to 2 glasses of water immediately upon awakening and ½ to 1 gallon throughout the day. Spring water is best, but if not available, use clean filtered water. I like to add a pinch of Celtic sea salt which contains 84 different minerals essential for optimal health . I also squeeze fresh lime or lemon juice to my water; it improves hydration and assists liver cleansing.
4 Add fiber to your diet – especially before meals. This has been shown to decrease post-meal blood sugar, decrease cholesterol levels, curb appetite and assist in weight loss. Some of my recommended fiber are psyllium husk, apple or grapefruit pectin, “freshly” ground flaxseeds, hemp fiber or my new favorite, yacon root powder or extract.
5 Spice up your life – by eating anti-diabetic spices such as cinnamon, garlic, ginger, turmeric, and fenugreek.
6 Add “superfoods” to your diet – these foods are considered the most nutritionally unique foods on the planet. My favorite superfood for diabetics is chocolate. More specifically, I mean 100% raw organic cacao beans, nibs, or powder. Raw cacao is the highest anti-oxidant food in the world and is very beneficial in preventing many of the complications of diabetes. Other anti-diabetic superfoods I recommend are maca, acai, bee pollen, royal jelly, noni, cat’s claw, camu camu berry, kelp, spirulina, goji berries ,aloe vera, jungle peanuts, blue-green algae and many, many more. Try adding a new superfood to your diet every week and you will see dramatic improvement in your overall health.
7 Take digestive enzymes – in supplement form with each meal, especially if it is cooked. Most diabetic people lack the ability to produce enough enzymes to properly digest food. Cooking destroys the natural enzymes in the food.
8 Take a multivitamin mineral complex – most diabetics are very deficient in many vitamins and minerals. Make sure you take a high quality 100% natural whole food derived formula that contains no fillers. Read the label carefully.
9 Exercise – Try to move every part of your body and sweat while doing it. It is important that you maintain lean muscle by doing some weight lifting or resistance training. You can simply start with walking, yoga, swimming, biking or you could try my favorite which is rebounding (jumping on a small trampoline). Just 5 to 10 minutes in the morning can have amazing physical as well as anti-diabetic benefits.
10 Know your number – Take responsibility of your health and demand to know and understand your specific lab results, such as HemoglobinA1C (measures chronic blood sugar control), cholesterol with complete breakdown of the subtypes, Lp(a), triglycerides, homocysteine, fibrinogen, CRP(hs), vitamin D, blood pressure, waist circumference, urinalysis with screen for micro albumin.
For a comprehensive, individualized evaluation/consultation to prevent diabetes or if someone has diabetes and is looking to better their health, please visit us at MCCI Medical Group and request to be part of our state of the art MCCI Integrative Diabetic program.
The content on this website is for informative purposes only. It is not meant to treat or diagnose any symptoms or illnesses. Should you have any health related questions, you should contact your health care provider.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
DR. VIRGILIO SANCHEZ
Virgilio Sanchez Jr., M.D. is Medical Director of Integrative Medicine for MCCI Medical Group. He is a graduate from the University of Miami Medical School and is a Board Certified Family Physician, Diplomate in Anti-aging and Regenerative Medicine.