Particular antidiabetogenic foods


Red cabbage (Brassica oleracea) extract’s protective action against oxidative stress was investigated in diabetes-induced rats for 60 days. Researchers found a significant increase in reduced glutathione and superoxide dismutase activity and a decrease in catalase activity and in the total antioxidant capacity of the kidneys. Daily oral ingestion of B. oleracea extract from cabbage for 60 days reversed the adverse effects of diabetes in rats. They found lowered blood glucose levels and restored renal function and body weight loss. In addition, the cabbage extract attenuated the adverse effect of diabetes on malondialdehyde, glutathione, and superoxide dismutase activity as well as catalase activity and total antioxidant capacity of diabetic kidneys. In conclusion, the antioxidant and antihyperglycemic properties of B. oleracea in cabbage may offer a potential therapeutic source for the treatment of diabetes.


Huckleberry juice compounds may also offer significant protection against diabetic retinopathy and cataracts. Such huckleberry compound extracts are being widely used throughout Europe in the prevention of diabetic retinopathy. All this work with huckleberry in ophthalmology actually began back in World War II when some Royal Air Force pilots in Great Britain swore that eating huckleberry jam or drinking huckleberry cordials prior to flying night missions over Germany significantly improved their visual acuity in the darkness. Such reports generated a lot of interest in the medical community in Europe, which led to a number of studies being done with the berry.

Bitter melon

Bitter melon, also known as Momordica charantia or balsam pear, is a tropical fruit known throughout Asia, Africa, and South America. Its green fruit looks like an ugly cucumber. Bitter melon is made of several compounds that have antidiabetic properties, including charantin, which has been shown to be more powerful than the hypoglycemic drug tolbutamide, and an insulin-like polypeptide called polypeptide-P, which lowers blood sugar when injected into Type-1 diabetics. In one study, it decreased the glucose tolerance by 73 percent when people were given 2 ounces of the juice. In another study, there was a 17 percent reduction in glycosylated hemoglobin in six people. Still another study found that 15 grams of the aqueous extract of this herb produced a 54 percent decrease in blood sugar after eating and a 17 percent reduction in the glycosylated hemoglobin in six patients.

There are different preparations. The fresh juice is probably the strongest in terms of its effect. A variety of human clinical trials have established blood-sugar-lowering action of the fresh juice or abstract. More than a hundred studies have demonstrated bitter melons ability to decrease the blood sugar, increase the uptake of glucose and activate the pancreatic cells that manufacture insulin. The peptide it has acts like bovine insulin. So it has several effects: improved glucose tolerance without increasing insulin levels, stimulating the beta cells of the pancreas, suppressing the urge to eat sweets, and action similar to that of insulin.

Unripe bitter melon is available at Asian markets and the fresh juice is probably the best, per the traditional use in the studies. Bitter melon is difficult to make palatable, as its name implies. The best way to use this effective plant is to juice 2 ounces and hold your nose as you drink it with celery-cucumber juice and some lemon.


Cucumber contains a hormone needed by the beta cells of the pancreas to produce insulin. The enzyme erepsin in cucumbers is targeted towards breaking down excessive protein in the kidneys. In our program, we use a lot of cucumber juice for drinking as well as in salads.


Celery also has some general antidiabetogenic effects, as well as being helpful for people with high blood pressure such as we see with Syndrome X. Celery juice has a calming effect on the nervous system, due to its high concentration of organic alkaline minerals, especially sodium. The minerals contained in celery juice make the bodys use of calcium more effective, balancing the bloods pH. Celery should be the centre of your green vegetable juices and can be included in green soups and smoothies to alkalinize a system taxed by acidifying Culture of Death foods and lifestyle choices.

Nopal cactus

Nopal is prickly pear cactus, widely used as a traditional food throughout Latin America. Researchers gave eight fasting diabetics 500 grams of nopal. Five tests were performed on each subject, four with different cooked or raw preparations and one with water. After 180 minutes, fasting glucose was lowered 22 to 25 percent by nopal preparations, as compared to 6 percent by water. In a rabbit study, nopal improved tolerance of injected glucose by 33 percent (180-minute value for comparison) as compared to water. Nopal researchers concur that although cooked and raw cactus are effective, preparations from commercially dehydrated nopal are not.

Garlic and onion

Garlic and onions contain sulfur compounds that are believed to be responsible for their antidiabetic qualities. S-allylcysteine sulphoxide in garlic is one of these. It has been reported to decrease fasting blood glucose and lower cholesterol levels in diabetic rats, and in one human study, onion extract was shown to reduce hyperglycemia in a dose dependent manner.

Grains and beans

The following grains and beans are high-fibre complex carbohydrates that have been found to be useful for the prevention and part of a maintenance diet once diabetes is healed. They’re part of indigenous diets, especially of the Native Americans, that made diabetes a rarity before these cultures began to accept the Western diet in the 1940s (when their rate of diabetes began to soar):


Brown rice




Mung beans

Garbanzo beans

Pinto beans

White tepary beans

Green beans

String beans

Papago beans

Gabriel Cousens, MD, a leading medical authority with 40 years of success in healing diabetes naturally, is the founder and director of the Tree of Life Foundation and Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center in Patagonia, Arizona. A best-selling author and the creator of Dr. Cousens’s Diabetes Recovery Program, he uses the modalities of diet, nutrition, naturopathy, Ayurveda, and homeopathy blended with spiritual awareness in the healing of body, mind and spirit. He lives in Patagonia, AZ.

From There Is a Cure for Diabetes, Revised Edition by Gabriel Cousens, published by North Atlantic Books, copyright © 2013 by Gabriel Cousens. Reprinted by permission of publisher. If you liked this excerpt, buy the book!


image: ecks ecks (Creative Commons BY-SA)