(NaturalNews) Finding ways to naturally manage blood sugar and diabetes has become increasingly important as we become more aware of the adverse effects of prescription medications. Lifestyle changes are a crucial step in managing blood sugar levels, but at the same time, it can be difficult to maintain lifestyle habits like eating right and exercising when the blood sugar roller coaster has you under its thumb.
Natural herbs can offer a solution to fluctuating blood sugar levels that can help you regain the control you need to make permanent lifestyle changes and enjoy a better quality of living. Here are seven of the top herbs recommended for blood sugar management:
Cinnamon bark. Studies show that less than half a teaspoon of cinnamon each day can help lower blood glucose levels in people with type II diabetes. These benefits seem to only apply to Cassia cinnamon (also known as Chinese cinnamon), which is the form you commonly find on the spice rack. Just a teaspoon of cinnamon is packed with antioxidants and phenols, which fight disease and the inflammation associated with high blood sugar levels. To enjoy this spice's health benefits, you can simply add a dash of cinnamon to your morning oatmeal, or you can take a cinnamon bark supplement if you prefer.
Glucomannan. Although it's recently received a lot of press as a weight loss supplement, glucomannan is packed with fiber that can help keep blood sugar levels under control.
Gymnema sylvestre. The traditional name of this herb means "destroyer of sugar." Gymnema sylvestre was commonly used in ancient ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for diabetes. A study published in Ethnopharmacology in 1990 showed a daily dose of 400 milligrams was effective in lowering blood glucose levels in diabetics over the long term. Some participants were even able to stop using their prescription medications after taking gymnema sylvestre.
Fenugreek. This herb is a popular traditional remedy for high blood sugar, and there have been a number of clinical trials which showed that fenugreek could improve both blood sugar levels and cholesterol profiles.
Prickly Pear Cactus. Clinical evidence shows prickly pear cactus may lower blood glucose levels in diabetics by up to 46 percent. Broiled stems of the nopal variety seem to produce the best results. This variety was also shown to be effective for lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, while preserving HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
Stevia. Finally sweeping the nation, the herbal sweetener stevia is more than just a replacement for sugar. Research has shown that stevia can also reduce blood glucose levels in those with type II diabetes. So replacing sugar with stevia in your morning coffee or tea can have a doubly positive effect.
Turmeric. A traditional Indian culinary spice, turmeric may have a positive effect on blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
If you have been medically diagnosed with blood sugar issues or diabetes, then be sure to discuss any herbal supplements you're taking with your physician. This is especially important if you are already on insulin or other medications.
Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more: www.livingthenourishedlife.com/2009/10/welcome.html
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