Diabetes is one of the world's most common health conditions and the consequences can be devastating. Diabetes is said to be the leading cause of blindness, limb amputations, and kidney failure.

The bright side is that diabetes is a preventable disease and even diabetics can benefit from natural maintenance remedies. The following herbs and foods can be incorporated into your diet for both maintenance and protection against diabetes.

Jiaogulan

Jiaogulan is a powerful antioxidant with anti-diabetic and blood pressure regulating effects. A study found that participants given Jiaogulan in a tea form had a reduction in insulin resistance and in long-term blood glucose levels.

Jiaogulan's powerful anti-diabetic effects come from its ability to stimulate enzymes that prevent type 2 diabetes. Researchers found that AMPK enzymes -- enzymes found inside the cells of your body --  protect against, and aid in the maintenance of type two diabetes.

These powerful enzymes perform similarly to the popular anti-diabetic drug Metformin, but without side effects. AMPK enzymes reduce inflammation, lower blood sugar, and improve glucose uptake. They take sugar from the bloodstream and convert it into energy. Yet another benefit of AMPK enzymes is their ability to prevent fat storage and burn fat already stored. Jiaogulan also activates a powerful antioxidant called SOD, which can prevent disease.

Jiaogulan tea can be made by steeping the leaves in boiling water for ten minutes, or it can be taken in supplement form. Drink it daily for the prevention and maintenance of diabetes.

Bitter Melon

According to some research, bitter melon may have similar effects as insulin, which can protect you from insulin resistance. Bitter melon may fight diabetes, promote weight loss, fight visceral obesity, and prevent blood sugar rises.

Bilberry

Bilberry has a wide range of medicinal uses, including diabetic treatment. Berries, like bilberry, help reduce the body's glucose response that occurs after consuming sugary foods. Evidence suggests that the antioxidant-rich leaves reduce cholesterol and lower blood sugar while the flavanoid content improves blood circulation in diabetics. Bilberry can be found in supplement form for regular use.

Vitamins

Researchers found that one month of taking 100-600 milligrams of vitamin C normalizes your sugar levels. Sea buckthorn berries are rich in vitamin C and nutrients, flavanoids, and antioxidants to boot. An oil or powdered sea buckthorn supplement can be taken daily or used in beverages.

Maintaining appropriate levels of calcium and vitamin D is also important if you want to avoid developing diabetes. One study found that a daily intake of over 800 IU of vitamin D and over 1,200 milligrams of calcium significantly lowered the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Zinc

This mineral is vital for the production and storage of insulin and some research suggests that type 2 diabetics have increased excretion and decreased absorption of zinc. Foods rich in zinc include sardines, lamb, egg yolks, beef liver, pecans, walnuts, and almonds. On the same note, diabetics tend to be magnesium deficient, so it's important to get plenty of both magnesium and zinc through food or a quality supplement. 

Grasses

A highly acidic diet can be linked to disease and illnesses, including diabetes. Reduce acid's negative effect on your health with alkaline foods and supplements like wheat grass, barley grass, and alfalfa grass. If using a supplement, aim for one that includes this trio of grasses.

Additionally, grasses are rich in chlorophyll, which prevents disease. Many people have attested to its ability to stabilize blood sugar levels.

Broccoli Sprouts

A study found that the antioxidants called sulphoraphanes lowered insulin levels in participants taking powdered broccoli sprouts, after four weeks of daily consumption. It also reduced insulin resistance and may assist with blood-sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil may be capable of treating and reversing type 2 diabetes while also relieving symptoms of type 1 diabetes. Try using this healthy, versatile oil as a cooking alternative to vegetable oil, or simply enjoy it straight or including it in meals or your daily smoothie.

Cinnamon

Studies attest to cinnamon's powerful health benefits, but diabetics also find this a worthy spice since it's been shown to reduce blood glucose levels and help regulate blood sugar.

Fenugreek

Fenugreek is a potent herbal remedy often used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes since it contains an amino acid that may stimulate insulin secretion as well as reduce blood sugar and insulin resistance. Make use of fenugreek as a spice to flavor your dishes or take it in the form of a supplement.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Known as a cure-all, apple cider vinegar is also used to normalize blood sugar levels and possibly reduce glucose levels in diabetics. One study stated that participants taking two tablespoons before bed had 4%-6% lower glucose levels by the following morning.

Sources:

"AMPK as a metabolic tumor suppressor: control of metabolism and cell growth." Future Oncol. 2010 Mar;6(3):457-70. Luo Z, Zang M, Guo W.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20222801

"Exercise-induced AMPK activity in skeletal muscle: role in glucose uptake and insulin sensitivity." 2013. Molecular Cell Endocrinol. 25;366(2):204-14. Friedrichsen M, Mortensen B, Pehmøller C, Birk JB, Wojtaszewski JF. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22796442

"Antidiabetic effect of Gynostemma pentaphyllum tea in randomly assigned type 2 diabetic patients Hormone Metabolism Research." 2010. 42(5):353-7. Huyen VT, Phan DV, Thang P, Hoa NK, Ostenson. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01254084

"Vitamin C: an aldose reductase inhibitor that normalizes erythrocyte sorbitol in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus." J Am Coll Nutr. 1994 Aug. 13; 4: 344-5. Cunningham JJ et al.

https://ods.od.nih.gov/pubs/conferences/cunningham_abstract.html

"Vitamin D and calcium intake in relation to type 2 diabetes in women." Diabetes Care. 2006 29(3):650-6.  Pittas AG, Dawson-Hughes B, Li T, Van Dam RM, Willett WC, Manson JE, Hu FB. http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/57/10/2565.long

"Effect of broccoli sprouts on insulin resistance in type 2 diabetic patients: A randomized double-blind clinical trial."  International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition (Impact Factor: 1.21). 04/2012; 63(7):767-71. DOI: 10.3109/09637486.2012.665043.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/224853461_Effect_of_broccoli_sprouts_on_insulin_resistance_in_type_2_diabetic_patients_A_randomized_double-blind_clinical_trial