Functional ingredients include fruits, nuts and vegetables, whole grains, fortified foods, and specific herbs and spices used in cooking or as a supplement. To attain a balanced lifestyle and wellness through diet, it is important to consume a wide variety of functional foods and different types of superfoods and ingredients such as turmeric, cinnamon, garlic and onions are natural remedies beneficial for combating diabetes and keeping your blood sugar levels down.

Herbs and spices that combat diabetes and maintain good health:

Curry Leaves

Curry leaves from the (Murraya Koenigii) curry leaf tree is native to India and is an important herb in the medical science of Ayurveda. It is an essential ingredient in traditional Indian cooking and contains many medicinal properties. Curry leaves have antibacterial properties and contains vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin B2, vitamin C, calcium, and generous traces of iron, which is directly responsible for many health benefits. It contains several minerals that help to normalize blood sugar levels and reduce cholesterol reducing the severity of diabetes. Commonly used to prevent some types of cancer and known to improve cell immunity and reduce the risk of oxidative stress in people with Dementia and Alzheimer.

Turmeric

Turmeric comes from the root portion of the plant Curcuma Longa and belongs to the ginger family. The turmeric root has a flavor that is peppery, warm with a little bitterness with a flavor that is reminiscent of orange and ginger and is a spice that is widely used in recipes for centuries. Known to be the most effective nutritional supplement of all, turmeric is a good spice to control high blood sugar, improves kidney function, a natural liver detoxifier and a natural treatment to lessen the severity of arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-atherosclerotic, heart-protecting and weight-reducing actions that help diabetic people manage blood sugar levels and reduce complications from the disease. With its abundant source of iron and manganese, vitamin B6, dietary fiber, copper and potassium, the benefits turmeric brings are endless.

Fenugreek

Fenugreek leaves and seeds are a common ingredient in Indian dishes in particular curries, also used in middle and near eastern cuisines such as Turkish and Egyptian cooking. If you like the sweet taste of maple syrup, you will definitely take to fenugreek. Fenugreek seeds are rich in minerals such as iron, potassium, calcium, selenium, copper, zinc, manganese and magnesium. In the vitamin department, it contains thiamin, folic acid, riboflavin, pyridoxine (vitamin B6), niacin, and vitamins A and C. Fenugreek brings along with it a host of medicinal properties that control and maintain blood sugar levels in diabetics, reduces blood cholesterol levels, heart disease and has anti-carcinogenic potential to prevent colon cancer.

Side effects: Fenugreek comes from the same family as chickpeas, green peas, soybeans and peanuts, so if you have an allergy with these foods, please check the ingredients carefully before choosing a meal from our menu. However, an allergy to one type of food/ingredient does not mean you are allergic to all, so it is recommended that you try a new food/ingredient in a small dosage and check for reactions or consult with your health practitioner.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon comes from the stems of the Cinnamomum tree. The woody parts of the stem are removed so that the inner bark can be extracted and dried. Once dried, the stems form into strips and curls into rolls and becomes what we commonly refer to as cinnamon sticks, or grounded into powder form used in cooking and as a supplement.

This delicious spice offers impressive health benefits such as lower blood sugar levels, reduce heart disease risk factors and helps to raise (HDL) ‘good’ cholesterol which helps to remove the (LDL) the ‘bad cholesterol’ from the body. It may improve triglyceride levels and these factors benefit even those who are not combating diabetes. As there are no known cure for Type 2 diabetes, incorporating cinnamon in your diet helps diabetics to manage and keep the severity of the disease under control. Cinnamon has antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties and the combination of cinnamaldehyde, antioxidants and high fiber content makes it a much beneficial and positive addition to your diet.

Ginger

Ginger from the ginger root is probably one of the most versatile and commonly used ingredient throughout history by different cultures in cooking and other medicinal and therapeutic purposes. This spice is a powerful natural remedy and the health benefits go beyond the relief of minor problems such as common cold symptoms, stomach upset and motion sickness. The amazing medicinal properties of ginger fights cancer in particular ovarian and colon cancer, controls blood sugar levels and particularly beneficial to type 2 diabetes. Improves insulin sensitivity, reduces oxidation and improves cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that it reduces the severity of arthritis and cardiovascular diseases and improves cognitive levels of Alzheimer’s disease.

Warnings and Precautions:
Ginger is a common ingredient used in cooking and although it has few side effects, some people may experience bloating, gas, heartburn, nausea or other sensitivity/allergy reactions.

Garlic

Garlic comes fresh, dried or in powdered form. It is a member of the Lily family and is a cousin to onions, leeks and chives. It is one of the most bold and aromatic plant that can transform any dish into a culinary experience. Throughout the ages, garlic is highly regarded in culinary usage and its medicinal properties. It contains an excellent source of manganese and vitamin B6, vitamin C, copper, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B1 and calcium. In addition, the sulfur compounds in garlic functions as powerful antioxidants and with more than 400 chemical components and has been proven to reduce blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes, lower blood triglycerides and total cholesterol. Provides cardiovascular support, prevents blockage in blood vessels, lowers blood pressure and contains anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral properties. With anti-cancer properties, ginger supports and maintains immune and prostate health.

Onion

Onions come from the same biological family as garlic, leeks and chives. Whether red, white or brown onions, they play a role in their health benefits. Rich in antioxidant vitamin, vitamin-C and mineral manganese, isothiocyanate anti-oxidants in onions help provide relief from cold and flu from its anti-inflammatory actions. The rich source of chromium helps facilitate insulin action and control sugar levels in diabetes. They are also good source of antioxidant flavonoid quercetin, which has found to have anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic functions. No matter how you like your onions, onions are a low-calorie, functional food to include in diabetic diets. Some studies have shown that certain chemicals in onions may help you maintain blood sugar and consumption of fresh onions reduces blood glucose levels among type 1 and type 2 diabetics.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne Pepper or red pepper comes from red chili peppers. The dried pods of chili peppers are commonly used as a seasoning to add spiciness and flavour to many authentic dishes. The capsaicin in this spice has many health benefits and helps to increase metabolism, boost energy, is anti-inflammatory, relieves headaches and acts as an antibacterial agent. Cayenne and other chili power is a traditional treatment used to reduce and control diabetes, normalize blood pressure and prevent blood clot while helping veins and arteries regain their elasticity. Some research has suggested that capsaicin may help to prevent some types of cancer.

Ginseng

Ginseng is a perennial plant with tapered roots and belongs to the genus Panax in the family of Arliaceae. The plant is also referred to as Ginnsuu in some regions of China and other parts of Asia such as Korea, Bhutan and eastern Siberia. Ginseng roots are usually dried and used for thousands of years and brings with a variety of health healing benefits such as reduce glucose and energy levels of diabetics. Fermented ginseng is called red ginseng, and this type of preparation supports wellness to a greater degree and may help to normalize blood sugar levels in diabetics while dried ginseng extract is more effective in maintaining blood sugar levels. In addition, ginseng helps to reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, anti-aging and fights cancer.

Functional Foods for Great Health and Wellness

There are an abundant of foods available that are great to include in your daily diet and especially beneficial in lowering the glucose levels of diabetics. Here are examples of functional foods that contribute to overall health and makes them an excellent addition to your daily diet. No matter how you choose to deal with diabetes, these natural remedies could be a good part of your health plan.

Fatty Fish

To name one of the healthiest foods on the planet, fatty fish definitely comes on top of the list. Fatty fish includes salmon, sardines, herring tuna, anchovies, lake trout and mackerel which are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, and offers major benefits for heart health. Fatty fish is rich in fatty acids and is a great source of high-protein that helps with weight control making you feel fuller and increases your metabolic rate. These vital sources help to protect the cells that line your blood vessels, reduces inflammation, and lowers the risk of heart failure that leads to possible stroke and death from heart attack.

It is important to include foods rich in fatty acids to help reduce the risk of diabetes and obesity.

Tomatoes

Ginseng is a perennial plant with tapered roots and belongs to the genus Panax in the family of Arliaceae. The plant is also referred to as Ginnsuu in some regions of China and other parts of Asia such as Korea, Bhutan and eastern Siberia. Ginseng roots are usually dried and used for thousands of years and brings with a variety of health healing benefits such as reduce glucose and energy levels of diabetics. Fermented ginseng is called red ginseng, and this type of preparation supports wellness to a greater degree and may help to normalize blood sugar levels in diabetics while dried ginseng extract is more effective in maintaining blood sugar levels. In addition, ginseng helps to reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, anti-aging and fights cancer.

Bilberry

Bilberries from the same family of blueberries, has similar appearances though smaller in size, softer in texture and dark blue in colour. This little berry contains high levels of anthocyanosides more commonly known as flavonoids and this compound is found in a number of purple, blue and red berries. Research studies indicate that flavonoids seem to promote blood vessel strength, which could have protective properties against forms of retinal damage in people with diabetes. Flavonoids helps to lower blood glucose levels, reduce triglyceride levels, improve circulation, reduce blood clots formation and plays a vital role in preventing heart disease.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate from cocoa is known to reduce insulin resistance and the lower the sugar content the more effective. Rich in polyphenols helps people with type 2 diabetes increase the sensitivity to insulin important for blood glucose control. People with a healthy digestive tract consume cocoa on a regular basis and this good bacterium help to create compounds that are anti-inflammatory. A small amount of dark chocolate could potentially help to decrease the risk of heart disease.

Red Grapes

Red grapes are rich in minerals, vitamins, fiber, and other nutrients. Although some fruits contain a high level of glucose and fructose, red grapes should still be included in a diabetic diet for the many health benefits that it offers. Fruits are high in glucose and fructose, but small and controlled quantities should still be a part of the diabetic meal plan for the many benefits red grapes offer to your body. Like red wine, limited and controlled quantities of red grapes are recommended for your heart and controls blood sugar levels.

Blueberries

Blueberries are a small fruit that contains powerful medicinal properties in managing diabetes. Considered as a ‘diabetes superfood’, blueberries are packed with nutrients such as fiber and antioxidant vitamins that may help to reduce the risk of diabetes, increase insulin sensitivity, regulate blood sugar levels and helps to lose body fat. The abundance of antioxidants can also help to fight off diseases and significantly boost the immune system protecting us from a host of common illnesses. Blueberries are high-fiber foods, may help type 2 diabetes to lower blood sugar level, and highly recommended by health practitioners.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a superior health choice compared to other oils and is essentially beneficial to people battling diabetes. As coconut oil is high in medium-chain fats, it is a solid fat that makes it harder to convert into stored fats thus easier to burn off. Incorporating coconut oil in a diabetes meal plan helps to maintain healthy weight especially with type 2 diabetes. Coconut oil has a unique molecular structure and has antimicrobial, antifungal, antioxidant and antibacterial properties.

Almonds

Almonds are high in concentrated healthy fats that contribute to reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. While nuts are generally known to be high in fat and not a good choice for diabetic diets, almonds are an exception to the case. Almonds are rich in antioxidant, vitamin E and magnesium which aids to improve the flow of blood and oxygen. Eating almonds lessens the rise in blood sugar especially alongside a high-glycemic meal. Studies have found that diabetics incorporating almonds into their meal improved insulin sensitivity, blood sugar and lessens cholesterol levels. Nuts such as almonds could help to maintain healthy levels of blood glucose and cholesterol for both men and post-menopausal women who suffer from type 2 diabetes.

Buckwheat

Buckwheat comes across as a grain but is technically a fruit and commonly used in soba noodles and pancakes. Buckwheat is available throughout the year and is the perfect alternative to rice. The high levels of chiroinositol, being the main component of buckwheat,help diabetics maintain normal to lower blood glucose levels. It contains rich sources of magnesium, including 300 enzymes involved in the body’s use of glucose and insulin secretion. To minimize risk of diabetes and keep it under control, add buckwheat into your daily meal plan.

Green Tea

Green tea is made from Cameillia sinensis leaves, originated from China and have since spread throughout Asia. It contains polysaccharides, a type of carbohydrate shown to regulate the absorption of glucose and imitates the effects of insulin in the body. Green tea is ideal for diabetes as it contributes to better metabolic function and helps to control diabetes and improve insulin sensitivity. The catechin compound in the tea prevents cancer and promotes better heart health.