RED FLAG #1: Ready to Nap Right After a Big Meal?
This is a normal response to an influx of carbs (think of that post-Thanksgiving dinner feeling). A diet that's high in simple carbs like sugar, white flour, and sweet beverages -- especially when consumed in large quantities at one sitting -- overwhelms it.
What helps: Fenugreek aids carbohydrate metabolism and helps regulate blood sugar levels after meals. Fenugreek contains a specialized type of fiber that slows the absorption of glucose in theintestines and reduces the amount of fat that is absorbed.
RED FLAG #2: Craving Carbs
Find yourself reaching for quick-hit snacks like candy bars or chips? Simple carbs such as sugars and white flour break down very quickly, providing a fast hit of energy. Soon, however – this energy boost is followed by a dramatic drop in blood sugar. The body is caught in another wave of fatigue. So, before you know it, you're reaching for a pick-me-up guzzle of soda, another handful of chips, a second cookie (or three).
What helps: Chromium may be the answer for those who have intense cravings for carbohydrate-rich foods. When your blood sugar is low, your appetite for sugars and starches is amplified. Chromium helps stabilize blood sugar and diminish the desire for carbohydrate-laden foods.
RED FLAG #3: Being Overweight -- and Unable to Lose Extra Pounds
Most diabetics carry excess weight, says Duke University's Beth Reardon. Stubborn weight loss despite best efforts can be the result of mixed messages that our cells are receiving, Reardon says. "The cells are starving because the fuel they need (in the form of glucose) is not being absorbed at the insulin receptor site on the cell. In the face of a perceived fuel shortage, the body will hold tightly onto existing stores of energy -- fat," she says.
What helps: Gymnema Sylvestre is a potent weapon against obesity due to its ability to regulate blood sugar, slowing the absorption of glucose and supporting insulin sensitivity. When blood sugar levels are kept in the normal range, hunger is kept at bay.
RED FLAG #4: Looking More Like an Apple Than a Pear
Weight gain is weight gain, and all of it risks moving you down the path toward elevated blood sugar. But added pounds in one particular area -- the midsection -- are especially associated with insulin resistance and diabetes. For men, the danger point is considered to be a waist circumference of 40 inches or more; for women, the dangerous measurement is a waist of 35 inches or more.
What helps: Cinnamon is an essential addition to your diet if you struggle with blood sugar imbalances or store weight around the stomach and midsection. Insulin is known as the “fat storage” hormone and Cinnamon allows the body to maintain healthy blood sugar levels while producing less insulin.
RED FLAG #5: High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is linked to many different conditions. But insulin resistance is a common cause when it appears in tandem with excess weight gain (especially around the middle), fatigue, and other negative numbers on a medical workup (abnormal cholesterol levels and high triglycerides). The numbers to beware: blood pressure equal to or higher than 130/85, an HDL "good" cholesterol level below 40 mg/Dl for men and below 50 mg/Dl for women, and triglycerides of 150 mg/Dl.
What helps: Bilberry supports optimal blood pressure by making the blood vessels easier to stretch and expand, thus increasing blood flow. Also remember that high blood sugar makes the blood cells “stickier” causing the heart work harder to pump this thickened blood throughout the body.
Health Alert: Diabetes is fast reaching epidemic proportions. New statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that cases of type 2 diabetes in the U.S. have gone up 90% since 1997. This disease often goes undiagnosed for years. Make sure you get your blood sugar checked annually.