The holidays have come and gone, but many of us may still be battling intense sweet cravings leftover from the season's festivities. Excessive sugar cravings can be a sign that your blood glucose levels are out of balance which, if left unchecked, can lead to insulin resistance and Metabolic Syndrome, also known as "Pre-Diabetes." "The good news is that there are natural solutions to help balance blood glucose, improve metabolism and reduce sugar cravings, while supporting overall health," says Dr. Isaac Eliaz M.D., L.Ac.
What is Metabolic Syndrome?
Metabolic Syndrome is characterized by a set of conditions that also mark the development of Type II Diabetes, giving it the name "Pre-Diabetes."
Symptoms for Metabolic Syndrome include:
- Excessive fat around the abdomen (>40 inches for men and >35 inches for women)
- Low HDL ("good" cholesterol) and high LDL ("bad" cholesterol)
- Chronic inflammation
- Hyper-viscous coagulation marked by high fibrinogen - a sticky fibrous coagulant in blood
- High blood pressure
- Insulin resistance (your body isn't using insulin or blood sugar properly)
The most dominant risk factors are obesity and accompanying insulin resistance, marked by elevated fasting blood glucose levels.
Natural Solutions: Diet and Exercise
Factors contributing to Metabolic Syndrome are poor diet, lack of exercise and chronic stress. Eating foods that are high in sugar and fat causes our insulin levels to spike. Dr. Eliaz says, "Over time, our cells become less sensitive to insulin and our blood glucose levels rise. This increase in circulating blood glucose causes numerous inflammatory and degenerative conditions. The solution is to focus on foods that are low on the glycemic index." Emphasize fiber and protein-rich foods, and limit simple carbohydrates and sugars to prevent glucose and insulin levels from spiking - causing insulin resistance - the hallmark of Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes II. According to Dr. Eliaz, regular exercise is also an important component in the prevention of Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes II, as it allows our cells to be more receptive to circulating blood glucose. Healthy stress relief is also critical since stress hormones such as cortisol cause cells and tissues to release extra glucose into the blood stream.
Specific botanicals and nutrients can help control Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes II by balancing blood sugar, improving insulin sensitivity, boosting metabolism and curbing sugar cravings:
- Gymnea leaf
- Astragalus root
- Cinnamon bark
- Fenugreek seed
- Holy Basil leaf
- Jambolan seed
- Bitter melon
- Panax Ginseng
- Sodium Alginates
- Medicinal mushrooms
- Alpha Lipoic Acid
- Multi-nutrient Metabolic Formula
If you're struggling with weight gain, sugar cravings, insulin resistance or any metabolic health issues, these natural options can help protect against and even reverse such concerns over time.