Nutrition Corner: Drop the Weight to Avoid Serious Disease
Having extra weight around your middle is much more than having an unpleasing “apple shape” — it has serious potential health consequences, including type 2 diabetes mellitus and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Losing that abdominal fat not only reduces your chances of life-threatening illness, but can also make you feel lighter, more agile, and ultimately more comfortable in your body.
Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a condition where the body’s cells become increasingly resistant to the hormone insulin, secreted by the pancreas, thereby making it more difficult for those cells to use the sugar received from food. In other words, your metabolism becomes less and less effective at getting energy from food and converting it into something useful and subsequently ends up storing it away in the form of fat. One potential outcome of this is excessive fatty deposits in the liver’s cells — known as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease — which can develop into inflammation in the liver, potentially leading to tissue scarring and liver cancer if not addressed early enough. These conditions are characterized by chronic low-grade inflammation and continual oxidative stress on the body, and are known as contributing factors to serious illness.
While there are medications used in conventional medicine to address these issues, it is commonplace for both dietary changes and increased exercise to be at the forefront of treatment. Research has shown the benefit of regular Tai Chi practice on type 2 diabetics in reducing blood sugar and regulating weight. Including Tai Chi in your regular exercise routine rotation, so that you are making sure to move every day, will get your metabolism going.
Try including these foods into an otherwise healthy diet filled with plenty of fresh vegetables:
Cinnamon: Research has shown that cinnamon, one of the most commonly used herbs in traditional Chinese medicine, can help regulate blood sugar levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce lipid levels in the bloodstream.
Cayenne pepper: Cayenne’s active component, capsaicin, is shared with other chili peppers, and has been found to decrease inflammation (particularly in adipose tissues), improve appetite control, as well as increase the capacity to break down fat cells.
Lychee fruit: Research has shown that lychee has the potential to help diabetics maintain healthy blood sugar and reduce cholesterol levels, as well as containing a healthy dose of fiber.
Kelp: Has been shown to help reduce blood pressure, as well as help with blood sugar levels.
Black sesame seeds: Are known in Chinese medicine to reduce blood sugar levels, as well as alleviate constipation.
It is advised that you only include small amounts of each of these into your diet. Speak with your practitioner at Tao of Wellness to see whether or not it is appropriate for you.