Diabetes is a common disease that affects more than 29 million people in the US alone, and over 380 million people worldwide.
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that restricts an individual’s ability to utilize the sugar in their body for energy generation due to which the sugar remains in the blood itself. Diabetics feel the need to urinate frequently and are often thirsty or hungry. When left untreated, diabetes can lead to complications such as renal failure, ocular damage and even heart disease.
What Are the Major Types Of Diabetes
- Type I diabetes is a viral disease that generally occurs in the early years of the life of an individual and leads to the destruction of pancreatic cells that produce insulin. In such situation, the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to maintain low levels of sugar in the blood.
- Type II diabetes generally happens in adulthood where the body cells become so toxic that they cannot accept the insulin produced in the body. This is the most common type of diabetes.
How Can Essential Oils Help In Cases Of Diabetes?
Aromatherapy is one of the best alternative therapies that can be used for the management of diseases like diabetes. Essential oils promote low glucose levels in the blood. Due to the 50 million olfactory receptors present inside your nostrils, essential oils can be directly absorbed into the blood to start their action immediately. Having said that, here are some of the best essential oils are recommended for diabetes.
17 Best Essential Oils for Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
Cilantro or coriander has its origin in western Asia and eastern Mediterranean region. Conventionally, coriander has been used as a blend to help cure digestive problems like diarrhea in young ones, colic pain, anorexia and flatulence. For the diabetes, Coriander promotes low blood glucose levels by increasing the insulin secretion in the pancreas. In addition, this essential oil is also known to exhibit insulin like activity at the cellular level.
Consuming Cinnamon orally may ease the symptoms of diabetes. Research has shown that Cinnamon is able to reduce the levels of glucose, triglycerides and cholesterol in the body. Other than that, this oil has the ability to fight infection, reduce inflammation and balance blood sugar levels. It has natural antifungal and antiviral properties to combat infection and along with that, it is a natural immune booster. There are no known adverse effects of using cinnamon; but it may cause irritation to the skin or to the nasal passage if not diluted properly before use. Cinnamon can be taken as a supplement or it can be inhaled.
Researches have shown that Clove when consumed as a supplement can balance the insulin levels. It also helps to reduce cholesterol and glucose levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. An individual may consume 1-2 cloves a day to help balance the symptoms of diabetes. Other than that, the essential oil of clove can be useful for conditions like acne, food poisoning, lice manifestation, cataracts, inflammation, ulcers, diarrhea, nausea, arthritis and rheumatism and cardiovascular disorders. It is recommended that young ones and individuals who are taking anticoagulants should not use the clove as it can cause severe skin irritation. Even when it is being used on adults, I would recommend diluting the oil with any carrier oil before use. It can be consumed orally as a dietary supplement or used in a diffuser.
Myrrh can help control blood sugar levels. Its antioxidant properties support the immune system, making it one of the best oils for people suffering with diabetes. Myrrh is also a natural antioxidant and antiseptic and contains powerful healing properties. It is considered as safe, except for young ones under the age of six or pregnant women. It can be used in a diffuser, as a food grade supplement or for the topical application.
5. Clary Sage
Clary sage can help prevent the renal disorders, which are quite common in people suffering from diabetes. You can consume it orally or apply it topically. When taken in right amounts, there are no adverse effects seen.
Ocotea can help balance the blood sugar levels when consumed as a tea. While being deeply effective in supporting the pancreas, it can help in digestion when consumed 5-10 minutes prior to the meal. In addition to that, Ocotea reduces the inflammation and helps to balance body’s internal response to injury and irritation. Children below 6 years of age, expectant females and the ones who are on medications should avoid Ocotea. This oil can sometimes be irritating to the skin when used without proper dilution. It can be diffused or inhaled, applied topically or can be taken as a dietary supplement.
The essential oil of Vetiver has soothing and grounding effects on the body. It is also known to ease anxiety, trauma, shock, and is ideal for relaxing muscles when used as massage oil. It can be used as a food supplement or can be inhaled directly. Although, Vetiver is harmless when taken as a medicine but the possible adverse effects are still unknown. Expectant females should not use it.
Lemon essential oil can help you relax and can be used for renal calculi, ringing ears, swine flu and common cold. For diabetics, it can ease the tension and stress that many of them generally acquire due to the disease.
It can be taken orally in small doses or can be applied topically. While the adverse effects of the higher intake of the essential oil of lemon are unknown, applying it directly over the skin can increase the risk of sunburn, especially if you have fair skin.
9. Ylang Ylang
The essential oil of Ylang Ylang can be both relaxing or stimulating. For diabetics, it is useful for coping with stress and anger. Inhaling its aroma can regulate the blood circulation thus reducing the blood pressure. This essential oil can be applied topically over the back, wrists, neck and feet or can be diffused.
Essential oil of Thyme is useful as an analgesic, expectorant, diuretic, anti catarrhal, immune stimulant and an antiseptic. This oil is also helpful in the prevention of diseases like psoriasis, dermatitis, hepatitis, bronchitis, and cardiovascular diseases, which a diabetic is likely to suffer from.
Use of this oil is not recommended for individuals with high blood pressure, young ones and expectant females. It can be used as a dietary supplement, diffused or applied topically.
Orange essential oil helps in restoring endocrine and immune systems to their normal states and helps in reducing depression. There are no known adverse effects of the use of this essential oil. It can be consumed internally or can be diffused.
Essential oil of marjoram may be helpful in treating constipation, whooping cough, bronchitis, headaches. It has no known adverse effects when used in right amounts.
13. Cypress Oil
One of the most common symptoms of type 2 diabetes is improper circulation of blood. While there are many essential oils that can regularize the blood circulation in the body, one of the most touted ones is the essential oil of cypress. Cypress is also well-known oil in the alternative medicine community for its cardiovascular benefits.
14. Fenugreek Oil
One of the studies conducted on fatty rats found that fenugreek could significantly help to increase the insulin sensitivity in the body. With further research, it was concluded that Fenugreek not only targets the symptoms of the disease but also makes the life of a diabetic easier by keeping him fresh and energized throughout the day.
15. Citrus Oils mixture
Diabetes is a disease that not only affects pancreas but many organs and processes all throughout the body including the vision. Blends of Citrus oils can support the visual system and the major organs such as the liver as they are rich in natural antioxidants. However, the reason why the alternative medicine community banks upon citrus oils is their ability to support the pancreas so that they are able to release the right amount of insulin required by the body.
16. Black Pepper Oil
Black Pepper can control and even prevent hypertension and type II diabetes. A study held in 2013 states that the oil of black pepper naturally restrains two enzymes that break down starch into glucose. This effect helps to normalize blood sugar levels and slows down the absorption of glucose.
17. Lavender Essential Oil
While a lot of research on Lavender and its effects as a treatment for diabetes is still pending, some of the investigations have concluded that Lavender can surprisingly reduce the levels of glucose in the blood.
Best Essential Oil Blends To Help in Type I and Type II Diabetes
- In 12oz of water, mix 3-5 drops of each Lemongrass Oil, Coriander Oil and Cinnamon Oil and drink it 2-3 times in a day
- You can use 4 drops of essential oil of Cinnamon Bark and Cypress over the stomach and the bottom of the feet and Coriander oil over the chest every morning.
- Massage Frankincense Oil over the back of the neck or on bottom of the feet for feeling light headed and relaxed after an insulin course.
- Regularly massage Lavender oil on the feet during night.
- Every morning massage Clove oil over the feet.
- Add 8-10 drops of Coriander and / or Basil oil in a capsule and take it daily.
Few Other Useful Tips For Managing Diabetes
- Other than previously mentioned essential oils, you should always be prepared to explore new alternatives. Understand the mechanism of your body and consider what you need. At times, in chronic conditions such as diabetes, the body seems to develop immunity of a particular essential oil. In other words, if one oil losses its effectiveness over the period of time, consider switching to some other essential oil on a temporary basis.
- It is great to have a few drops of the essential oil of Ocotea in boiled water, which is poured back and forth few times from one cup to another. Drink this blend before a meal.
Few Other Overall Health Benefits Of Using Essential Oils For Diabetes
- Almost all of the essential oils support vision and improve the liver function. As a dietary supplement, essential oils can reduce the free radical activity in the body. If you are searching for an anti-aging agent, essential oils can surely do the job.
- Essential oils, when consumed after a meal can prove to be miraculous for your digestive system. Just add a few drops of any of the essential oils mentioned above in a cup of boiled water and drink slowly. It is to be remembered that pancreas are connected with spleen and stomach, so when you consume anything that supports the functioning of the stomach then in turn it supports the pancreas.
- Put a drop of Coriander and a drop of Dill under the tongue. This will always bring down the blood sugar level.
- Keep a drop of essential oil of Fennel on your finger and then put it on the tongue.
- Virgin Coconut oil has a positive effect on the sugar levels in the blood.
- Add 5 drops of Lemongrass or Cinnamon Bark in a capsule with 2-3 drops of any carrier oil and ingest this capsule along with your meal daily. Be regular at least for a month to see the changes.
- Put a drop of Coriander oil on each of your ankles before bedtime to keep the sugar levels normal.
Diet For Diabetics
While there are several different types of diabetes, as mentioned earlier, the basic premise behind the disease is that it affects the body’s ability to properly metabolize carbohydrates, leading to elevated blood glucose (blood sugar) levels.
Although there are a variety of factors that can contribute to the development of diabetes, an overwhelming amount of medical evidence has shown a strong link between the foods that a person eats and insulin resistance, which is a key driver of diabetic symptoms.
So what are some of the best foods to eat to help you manage your diabetes? Below are some key ideas and suggestions that I have compiled to help you develop a diabetic diet that will be effective without being too restrictive.
First Things First: The Basics Of A Diabetic Diet Plan
So what exactly is a diabetic diet plan?
Simply put, it is an eating plan that will help you regulate your blood sugar. When you do this, you take a big step towards managing your weight, and you also lower your risk of developing other conditions that are often offshoots of diabetes, including heart disease, high blood pressure, nerve damage, and/or kidney damage.
When you consume excess calories (especially those that come from foods that are high in carbohydrates and sugar), your body will respond by generating an unsafe spike in your blood glucose levels.
The reason for this is that when carbohydrates break down in your system, they quickly convert into glucose, basically “dumping” a high level of simple sugars into your bloodstream in a very short period of time. This can send your blood glucose levels through the roof, causing the famous “sugar high” followed by the inevitable crash that leaves you feeling weak and super-hungry.
This can turn into a vicious cycle, because once this happens, you will seek foods that provide a quick “boost” just to help you feel normal again. Unfortunately, many times these foods are basically “more of the same”, creating yet another spike in your blood sugar levels.
If your blood glucose is not carefully managed, it can eventually cause significant health problems and longer-term complications. The best way to ensure that you avoid this undesirable scenario is to do your best to make healthy food choices that will keep your blood sugar levels within a safe range.
The types of foods that are commonly recommended for diabetics are foods that have what is known as a low Glycemic Index (GI), which means that they do not cause unsafe changes in your blood sugar levels.
Generally speaking, these types of foods are low in refined sugars and simple carbohydrates, both of which can wreak havoc on insulin levels when consumed in excess. Low glycemic index foods will not only prevent the blood sugar “roller coaster”, but they are also generally healthier for the body due to being rich in protein and other vital nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
So what are some of these diabetes superfoods? Read on to find out.
Beans are typically categorized as “starchy vegetables”, and they pack a serious punch when it comes to nutrients. They have an exceptionally high fiber content (just 1/2 cup of beans will give you about 33% of your daily fiber requirement), and they are also excellent sources of potassium and magnesium.
Although they are considered to be complex carbohydrates, beans also provide a healthy amount of protein; in fact, 1/2 cup of beans will supply your body with the same amount of protein as 1 full ounce of meat (minus the unwanted saturated fat).
Some of the top choices in the bean category are lima, pinto, navy, kidney, and black beans, and with their versatility as an ingredient, they can be used in a wide range of hot or cold dishes, either as a side item or as the “main event”. Quick tip: If you purchase canned beans, be sure to thoroughly drain them so that you can reduce the total sodium content.
2. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are one of the simplest yet most nutritionally complete foods given to us by Mother Nature. They are rich in Vitamin A, a key antioxidant that promotes eye health, and they have a high fiber content as well.
What’s interesting is that although sweet potatoes are known for tasting sweeter than regular potatoes (hence the name), they actually rank lower on the Glycemic Index than regular potatoes do. The main reason for this intriguing difference is that sweet potatoes break down differently in your system than do regular potatoes, the latter being much more of a catalyst for blood sugar spikes than the former.
3. Leafy Green Vegetables
Right about now, you’re probably hearing your mother’s voice in your head telling you to “Eat your vegetables”. Well, Mom was right (as always), because eating leafy green vegetables in particular is one of the healthiest things you can do for your body.
Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, collards, mustard greens, etc., are loaded with important nutrients including fiber, iron, calcium, and folate, and they’re also rich in phytonutrients, which are organic plant-based compounds that provide the body with a host of health benefits.
Berries are commonly referred to as “superfoods”, and for good reason: They are packed with antioxidants including vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E, all of which play a key role in boosting the immune system and defending the body against free radical damage.
Some of the best berries to incorporate into your diet include strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. You can add some (or all) of these berries into a delicious parfait, use them as toppings on your whole grain cereal or blend them up into a nutrient-packed smoothie.
5. Citrus Fruit
Citrus fruit contains abundant amounts of vitamin C, which is perhaps the best known antioxidant for promoting immune health.
Consider adding citrus powerhouses such as oranges, grapefruit, limes, and lemons into your diet to beef up your body’s defenses while also keeping your blood sugar intact.
This humble red fruit (yes, tomatoes are technically a fruit) is one of the most versatile ingredients you can keep in your kitchen. Not only can it be used to create a variety of sauces and purees, but it can also be diced, sliced or chopped and added into a wide range of dishes as well.
One of the key nutrients in tomatoes is lycopene, which is a natural phytochemical that defends the body against disease and improves cognition. In addition, the tomato’s low glycemic properties make it a safe bet for regular use by diabetics.
7. Whole Grains
You have to be careful when you delve into the territory of whole grains, because some people think that if they eat any type of bread other than white bread, they’re eating “whole grains”. Unfortunately, this is often not the case.
In fact, many breads that appear to be “whole grain” are actually made from enriched wheat flour, which is a highly processed form of grain that is devoid of most of the key nutrients that whole grains provide. What you need to look for are breads that provide the germ and the bran, as this is where all of the key nutrients reside. In addition, whole grain breads provide a healthy amount of fiber, which helps the body to moderate digestion and control blood glucose levels.
When we say “fish”, some qualification is necessary, because it will do your body no good to load up on breaded and deep fried fish. Instead, opt for grilled or baked varieties of fish that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, mackerel and tuna.
These Omega-3 fatty acids play a vital role in reducing inflammation in the body (a key contributor to diabetic symptoms), and they’re great for your heart as well.
Some caution should be exercised when it comes to the type of yogurt you choose, because there are many yogurt varieties out there that contain high levels of refined sugars, which will not help your blood glucose levels at all; these are the types of yogurts that you should avoid.
Instead, go for lower sugar varieties such as plain yogurt or Greek yogurt, and basically avoid any type of yogurt that contains high fructose corn syrup. If plain yogurt seems a little too…well…plain for you, try using it as an ingredient in a fruit smoothie. That way, you still get the nutritional benefits of the yogurt (e.g., calcium, Vitamin D, etc.) without risking a bland flavor experience.
10. Foods Containing “Good” Fats
Not all fat is the enemy; in fact, there are such things as “good” fats (i.e., polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats) that actually help your body maintain low cholesterol levels. Examples of these types of fats include cashews, walnuts, avocados, almonds, and pecans, as well as olive and canola oils.
Diabetes Diet Plans
Now that you have a good idea of what types of foods you can eat to keep your blood glucose levels intact, below are a handful of different approaches that you can take to creating a diabetes diet plan that will serve this purpose as well.
1. The Plate Method
Recommended by the American Diabetes Association, this 7-step method places more of an emphasis on eating vegetables, but it is far as from a deprivation diet. When you prepare your plate, try to fill half of it with some type of non-starchy vegetable (e.g., spinach, tomatoes, carrots, etc.), and then still a quarter of the plate with a protein such as lean beef or tuna. The last quarter of the plate should be filled with some type of whole grain item, or perhaps a starchy food. Top it off with a serving of fruit, and then drink water or unsweetened coffee or tea for your beverage.
2. The Carb Counting Method
This method primarily involves keeping a close eye on the total amount of carbohydrates that you consume in your food. This will require you to diligently read your food labels, making sure to keep your total carb count well within the recommended daily allowance. Just be sure to double check the total servings per container when you read these labels, as the carbohydrate count listed might only be for a quarter or a half of a serving.
3. The Glycemic Index Method
As mentioned earlier, the main objective behind a diabetic diet is to stick with foods that are low on the glycemic index. Many diabetics use the glycemic index as their gauge as to what foods they can consume, as well as the type of quantities they are allowed to consume. A simple Google search for the terms “glycemic index” will yield a bevy of helpful resources to get you started.
The Bottom Line
While diabetes is a condition that must be carefully managed, it doesn’t have to be debilitating to your diet. Use the tips and information outlined above to help you adjust your diet in order to keep your blood glucose levels in check, so that you can successfully manage your condition.
In addition, essential oils contain strong natural elements, and some may be irritating to the skin or even toxic for the body when not used correctly. For that reason, it is imperative to consult a health professional before using any of these essential oils in your body.
In my view, the use of essential oils is surely going to grow in coming decades and there will be a major hike in their clinical use in USA and across the globe.