Thyme, Turmeric, Garlic; 8 Powerful Herbs and Spices To Combat Diabetes
Turmeric the yellow root popular in Indian cuisine and always present in curries, is probably the best herb or spice for preventing cancer. Turmeric is an ideal spice for those with diabetes, as research has proven it has anti-inflammatory, antiaging, antioxidant, neuroprotective, anti-atherosclerotic, heart-protecting, weight-reducing, and anti-infectious actions. All of these benefits have been attributed to its main ingredient, curcumin.
According to a study published in the journal Diabetes Care, 240 people, all of whom had been diagnosed with prediabetes, were assigned to take either daily curcumin capsules (1,500 mg) or a placebo for nine months. At the end of the study, researchers found that 16.4 percent of subjects who took the placebo developed type 2 diabetes, while no one who took the daily dose of curcumin developed diabetes.
Thyme contains 75 active phytochemicals that work against diabetes, and its delicious aroma enhances any dish. Thyme supports inflammation-fighting cytokines and helps certain immune cells (macrophages) secrete agents that douse inflammation.
Bilberry is the European form of blueberries. Bilberries are superior to blueberries because they are blue throughout, whereas our form is blue only on the outside. And the blue color carries anthocyanins—the wholesome antioxidants that fight diabetes, strengthen your heart, and lower inflammation and blood fats.
A study conducted at the Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition found that regular consumption of fresh bilberries (400 grams daily) reduced inflammation markers and improved glucose tolerance in people with features of metabolic syndrome. When compared with the control group (who maintained their habitual diets), researchers found that the levels of inflammation marker interleukin-6 were 20 percent lower in those who increased their consumption of bilberries.
Cinnamon lowers blood sugar, according to several studies. But a recent Cochrane meta-analysis did not find significant reductions in fasting blood sugar (FBS), insulin resistance, or hemoglobin A1c. Then again, another meta-analysis found that cinnamon did lower hemoglobin A1c. Either way, cinnamon is loaded with phytonutrients that decrease inflammation and may aid in weight loss by lowering cholesterol and speeding up your metabolism. Of course, when you eat cinnamon on a hot bun, you negate its good effects! So try it on beans, lentils, and brown rice, or in meat stews—always without sugar!
Dandelion is a wonderful all-around herb, so you should never try to eradicate this “weed” from your garden. A dark, leafy green, it restocks your body with necessary bitter agents, lowers your blood pressure, and heals your liver. Like nettles, dandelions increase urinary flow and, thereby, support a mild cleansing action. And dandelion is said to help with weight loss, which is paramount for most people with diabetes.
Ginger is the perfect herb to fight diabetes and high blood lipids because it attacks diabetes from several sides, and even helps with weight loss. In fact, a 2012 study conducted by nutritionists at Columbia University found that subjects burned an extra 43 calories after consuming a breakfast that contained a hot ginger beverage. In addition, those who drank the beverage, which contained 2 grams of dry ginger powder, reported greater satiety three hours later than those who didn’t consume the ginger.
In a separate study, published in Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, diabetic patients who consumed 3 grams of dry ginger powder in divided doses for 30 days experienced a significant reduction in blood glucose (17 percent), triglyceride (9 percent), total cholesterol (8 percent), LDL (12 percent), and VLDL cholesterol (9 percent). Most of the time, I have fresh ginger at home and cut a few thin slices into my hot tea. Use this Asian spice in as many dishes as you can. It goes well with meat and poultry dishes, and vegetarian fare, too.
Garlic gives Italian and Mediterranean cuisines their specific flavors, together with basil, oregano, and olive oil. Garlic is good for your heart and protects you from cancer, as do onions, shallots, and chives, which are in the same plant family. Garlic exhibits the strongest anti-inflammatory force among them, suppressing exactly those cytokines acting up in diabetes.
Peppermint contains natural antioxidants that fight diabetes, heart disease, aging, and cancer. And it adds great flavor to teas. Try to get it loose and fresh instead of in tea bags. Peppermint relaxes the muscles that close the stomach from the esophagus; people with reflux should, therefore, avoid peppermint. For all others it is a tasty tea that aids digestion.