Grab a partner and head off to the nearest ballroom dancing studio where you can enjoy learning classic old school dances like the Swing, Foxtrot, Waltz, and Tango. If you’re looking for something a little saucier, try some Latin American flavour with dances like the Cha Cha, Rumba and Samba. For an even better workout, try gyrating your hips in some steamy Salsa classes. With ballroom dancing it’s the man’s job to lead the dancing partnership, while women simply need to let go and follow the lead. Its complete surrender on the women’s part. You don’t have to have your own partner either, as most classes rotate partners anyway. Ballroom dancing can be quite vigorous so it’s a good cardiovascular workout.


You’ve seen the meticulous, funky moves of Brittney Spears and Justin Timberlake as they groove to your favorite pop songs on MTV. According to funk teacher Clinton Shalkoff, “It’s a very detailed form of dance that involves a lot of head, shoulder, rib and hip isolations. Funk jazz and hip-hop are slightly different forms of dance in that funk involves looser movements, but the two terms are often used interchangeably”. Funk jazz and hip-hop typical attract a younger following, although people of any age who are looking for a funkier, street-style of dancing can enjoy it. These dance styles are fast-paced and make for a great cardiovascular workout.

Supplements for Diabetes PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Whether you’ve already developed it, are in a pre-diabetic state or even just at risk for the disease, managing diabetes at any stage is a lot about eating right. A wholesome, carbohydrate and fat controlled diet combined with regular physical activity and stress management is the cornerstone of management. But is it enough? It certainly forms the basis of drug-free management, but research has shown that supplementing with nutritional and plant-based remedies can go a long way towards fighting diabetes. Supplements for diabetes can go a long way in helping to manage the condition.


Nutritional supplements are usually given when a deficiency of that vitamin, mineral or amino acid exists, which is often the case in disease states. By correcting that deficiency, a state of metabolic balance can be restored. Diabetes and high blood glucose levels place a lot of oxidative stress on the body, which is the leading cause of long term complications, like heart disease, neuropathy (damage to the nerves, usually in the legs), retinopathy (damage to the blood vessels in the eye) and kidney disease. Many supplements aimed at improving outcome in diabetes are antioxidant in nature. By scavenging fee radicals, antioxidants help mop up some of the mess that excess glucose has caused. The more common type of diabetes, Type II diabetes, which usually develops later in life and usually in people who are overweight, is associated with a condition known as insulin resistance. Since insulin is the hormone that helps get glucose out of the blood and into the cells (thereby lowering blood glucose levels), many diabetic supplements are aimed at improving insulin sensitivity.


Natural medicines are not intended to work in isolation but are rather a supplement or adjunct to a healthy lifestyle, or may sometimes be used as an alternative to drug therapy. People using supplements for diabetes in conjunction with conventional drugs should always consult a doctor before supplementing, as drug dosages may need to be adjusted. Here’s a look at 10 of the most effective supplements for preventing and managing diabetes that medical nutritional research has uncovered so far.


Individual nutrients




Chromium is a key constituent of what is known as the “glucose tolerance factor”, which is made up of a group of nutrients that help maintain healthy blood glucose levels. Chromium helps the insulin shuttle glucose into the cells where it

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is burned for energy. Without this vital trace mineral, insulin simply would not function. Chromium is best absorbed in the forms chromium picolinate or chromium polynicotinate. At a dosage of 200-600 micrograms per day, chromium supplementation has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels in diabetics. As an added effect, because of its effects on blood sugar, chromium helps curb the appetite and reduces cravings for sweet things. Foods that contain chromium include, Brewer’s yeast, liver, oysters, black pepper, broccoli, spinach, dried beans, and whole grains





This vital mineral plays a role in over 300 metabolic pathways in the body. Magnesium is a cofactor for insulin action and plays a critical role in insulin sensitivity, yet as many as one in three diabetics are magnesium deficient. In addition, studies have shown that as magnesium intake goes up, the risk of developing Type II diabetes goes down. A simple blood test can help identify a magnesium deficiency. General recommendations for supplementation are at 350-500mg per day. In the diet, green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, wheat germ, and whole grains provide a good source of magnesium.




Carnitine is an amino acid like substance and also closely related to the B vitamins. Its main function is the transporting of long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria (the fat incinerators of the cells), where they are oxidized into energy. When diabetics are given carnitine supplements at a dosage of 1g per day, high blood levels of fats- both cholesterol and triglycerides, drop. Carnitine should be purchased in the form on L-carnitine. Taking L-carnitine with 50mg vitamin B6 and 100mg vitamin C enhances its absorption. Carnitine is obtained mostly from animal sources like fish, poultry and meat but can also be found in tofu, mushrooms, bread, rice, asparagus, avocados and peanut butter.




Vitamin E


Vitamin E’s role in diabetes is 2-fold. For one, it helps improve insulin sensitivity and improves blood glucose control. It also acts as a powerful anti-oxidant, reducing free-radical induced damage, particularly to the vascular system and thereby reducing damage to the heart and blood vessels. Start with 400 international units per day and slowly work up to 1200 international units per day. If you have high blood pressure, limit your supplemental intake to 400 international units per day. People on blood thinning medications should consult a doctor before supplementing with vitamin E. Boost dietary vitamin E by adding avocados, green leafy vegetables and cold pressed vegetable oils to your diet.


Co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10)


This vitamin-like substance (sometimes referred to as ubiquinone) is an anti-oxidant, cell protectant and blood oxygenator, with very similar functions to Vitamin E, and in fact the two seem to work well together. CoQ10 is also one of the substances needed for normal carbohydrate metabolism and ironically, certain drugs used to treat diabetes and its complications actually destroy CoQ10. It may also play a role in protecting against diabetic retinopathy, because of its ability to feed and oxygenate the tiny blood vessels of the eye. Meats and seafood contain small amounts of CoQ10. Supplements are marketed as tablets and capsules. The recommended daily intake is 50-80mg per day.


Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA)


ALA is a vitamin-like substance that acts as a powerful antioxidant and free radical scavenger. Some studies have hinted at benefits related to improved glucose uptake, increased insulin sensitivity and weight loss. There is some sound evidence that high dose ALA (up to 1800mg per day) significantly improves symptoms of diabetic neuropathy, a common long-term complication of diabetes. In foods, alpha-lipoic acid is found in liver, spinach, broccoli and potatoes.




Pycnogenol is part of a group of powerful antioxidants called oligomaric proanthocyanadins (OPCs). Clinical tests suggest that OPCs may be as much as fifty times more potent than vitamin E and twenty times more potent than vitamin C in terms of bioavailability. Extracted from the French maritime pine bark extract, pycnogenol has shown some promise as an adjunctive treatment for diabetes by lowering blood sugar and improving endothelial function (and therefore protecting the cardiovascular system). It has also been shown to help preserve and even restore visual acuity in retinopathy. Pycnogenol can be supplemented at 100mg per day.


Plant-based remedies




This common spice may help prevent and treat diabetes. Impressive research has shown that cinnamon rekindles the ability of fat cells to respond to insulin and therefore increases the removal of glucose. It is believed that a substance in cinnamon known as MHCP is responsible for its beneficial effects. In order to reap the benefits, diabetics should take a quarter to 1 teaspoon of the spice per day. Simply add it to your morning porridge, to teas or to soups and stews.


Hydroxycitric acid (HCA)


HCA is the active ingredient extracted from the rind of a pumpkin-like fruit, Garcinia cambogia (also known as the Malabar tamarind), which grows in India and Southeast Asia. HCA works by preventing the conversion of excess carbohydrates into fats and also slows the rate at which glucose is absorbed in the body. It has multiple benefits in diabetes, including improved blood sugar control, reduced blood lipid levels, appetite suppression and weight loss.


Gymnema sylverstre


This Indian herb is sometimes used as a substitute for oral blood glucose medications in Type II diabetes. Gymnema is thought to have the ability to repair damaged beta-cells (the pancreatic cells that produce insulin). The standard dosage is 500mg gymnema extract per day.

Author: Ashleigh Caradas

* A copy of this article appeared in LONGEVITY MAGAZINE



Moving into harmony

If you thought taking up a martial art would teach you nothing more than some impressive self-defence moves, think again. Martial artistry will not only make a warrior out of you, but can prove to be a great overall mind, body and soul workout.

I’ve always been amazed and awed at the way martial art hero’s like Bruce Lee moved through their opponents with such agility, effortless grace and focussed concentration. What impresses me about martial arts is that they not only gives you the confidence to defend yourself in an often-hostile world, but also teaches you valuable life lessons and skills. And as an added bonus, you develop super fitness along the way.

Martial arts are a unique practice because it combines intellectual concepts with physical techniques and manoeuvres. The result is a stronger body and mind and an overall sense of harmony and well-being. When used as an exercise, martial arts can improve balance, strength, stamina, flexibility and posture and provides some sound cardiovascular training. On a mental level, martial arts can improve concentration and willpower. And tuning in the inner warrior also helps build confidence and a more positive self-image.

All forms and styles of martial arts stem from the same ancient basic philosophy, which holds that the universe operates within laws of balance and harmony, and that people must live within the rhythms of nature. It’s all about harnessing universal life force energy and using it to bring mind body and spirit back to a state of wholeness. The martial arts are primarily used for self-defence but the focus is more on self-discipline and self-mastery rather than mastery over others and winning fights.

Although there are many different styles, the mental and physical benefits of martial arts are all essentially the same. It all depends on what the practitioner intends to gain from the art form. Do you want to learn self-defence? Develop fitness? Enhance coordination? Relieve stress? Learn an art? Win competitions and trophies? Some martial arts are hard, some are soft; some are fast, some are slow; some are more physical, some more mental; some are more artistic than others; some involve the use of weapons and some are more competitive in nature. The trick is to find a style and school (or “dojo”) that best suites your needs, intentions and training goals.


Originating in Okinawa and brought to Japan, karate is one of the most widely practiced martial arts today. Karate literally means, “empty hand” and does not typically include weapons training in its curriculum. It emphasises both offensive and defensive moves, which are delivered as blocks, kicks, punches and strikes with the arms and legs. Karate training encompasses both physical and metal aspects of martial arts. According to Malcolm Dorfman, chief instructor at the Honbu Dojo of Karate no Michi “Karate is an exercise regime that uses the entire body as well as a martial art in the true samurai tradition. Karate builds aerobic fitness and flexibility, enhances coordination and boosts self confidence.”


If you’re keen to get down and dirty WWA style, then go for the wrestling like art of Judo. This Japanese art was originally derived from the deadly grappling system of Jujutsu, which was modified to create a gentler art form. Unlike karate, judo involves a lot of throws, grappling, pins, chokes and joint locks. It is designed so that moves can be done in full force to create a decisive victory without injuring the opponent. Judo training emphasises mental, moral and character development as much as physical training. It’s a highly competitive sport and many tournaments are available, although there is room for those who just want to do it as an art form or just for fun.


This Korean art is primarily a martial sport and involves a lot of competition work. Taekwondo is especially noted for its foot techniques and involves a lot of high kicking, striking and blocking. Hand techniques are also employed but only as follow up manoeuvres. Taekwondo demands a great deal of dexterity, speed, stamina and flexibility. Besides the physical benefits of this art, it also offers practitioners self-defence skills and self-discipline.


Originating in Buddhist Thailand, Muay Thai (or Thai kickboxing) is known as “the science of the eight limbs” because it uses all parts of the body, including hands, elbows, feet and knees. Certain holds and throws are also used. Mauy Thai is an extremely vigorous workout. Training includes running, shadowboxing, bag work and kicks. Mauy Thai is known to be one of the most powerful and dangerous of the martial arts and blows can be delivered with deadly force.


This Chinese martial art actually encompasses a wide range of sub-styles and is one of the oldest martial arts still practised today. “Kung fu encompasses all aspects of martial arts namely physical fitness, self-defence and the artistic side or forms,” explains Si-Mo Eulalia Kavalier at the Chinese Martial Arts and Health Centre in Johannesburg. Kung fu movements combine animal styles, like snake tiger and dragon with practical combat techniques, like wrestling, joint locking, hand techniques and kicking. Weapons are an integral part of training. According to Si-Mo Eulalia Kavalier, “Kung fu is focussed training that allows you to become physically fit whilst learning a martial art. Students are pushed beyond their own limitations, therefore creating self discipline”


If you’re looking for a slow, non-forceful martial art, the Chinese healing art of Tai chi is for you. Tai chi consists of a series of controlled, graceful movements that create a tremendous amount of internal power. “Tai chi works from the toes up towards the fingertips”, explains Eddie Jardine, head of the International Tai chi Society in South Africa. “The legs are the centre, which root us to mother earth and keep us grounded. Slow, twisting movements massage the spinal column and the deep breathing and meditation calms us. Tai chi can increase blood circulation, enhance flexibility and improve overall body function.” As a method of self-defence, tai chi trains practitioners how to direct energy through the body, out the fingertips and onto the opponent, although they almost never meet force with force.


Capoeira is an African system of unarmed martial combat created by African slaves in Brazil. This art form was developed from the moves of ritual African dance that evolved into self-defence techniques. Capoeira is a stylised dance usually performed in a circle or “roda” with a sound background provided by musical instruments. Born out of a lack of freedom, this art form actually involves a great range of movement and demands incredible flexibility and agility. “With capoeira you also develop extreme fitness as well as muscle definition, particularly in the abdominal area, back triceps and buttocks” explains Paulo Palinhos, head instructor of Casa de Capoeira in Johannesburg. “Experiences that take place in the roda help us deal with life’s problems because they mimic real life experiences”. Fighting involves mainly leg kicks and dodges, with little emphasis placed on punches, grappling and locks. Capoeira also involves some acrobatic work, like summersaults and back flips.

There are so many martial arts styles to choose from that the choice can become overwhelming. Some schools offer classic training in one particular art, while others integrate two or more styles or offer more modernised forms. The best advice is to kick, punch, grapple, breathe and meditate your way through as many dojos as necessary until you find your own personal martial arts haven.

* A copy of this article appeared in Longevity magazine


Its no wonder that in today’s hectic world, where fast foods and convenience reign, that diseases of lifestyle – like diabetes – have started to emerge, and even become somewhat of an epidemic. When it comes to diabetes, diet and lifestyle are an integral part of management. Although there is a genetic component to the disease- it’s we do and do not eat that determines whether these genes will express themselves. Bad diet, lack of exercise and stress- these are the real causes of disease.

Diabetes management starts with prevention. It has been proven time and time again that a diet high in complex, wholegrain carbohydrates, moderate in protein and low in saturated and trans fatty acid, but that also includes unsaturated fats is your best line of defense. Combine this with regular physical activity and stress management and you have a winning formula.


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suspected that a continuous over-stimulation of the hormone insulin contributes to the development of diabetes. Foods high in sugar and refined carbohydrates as well as a lack of protein or essential fats in the diet can place extreme stress on the pancreas as it’s forced to pump out more and more

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insulin to cope with the huge glycemic demand. The end result is what is called insulin resistance, where the cells response to insulin is diminished and it can no longer do its vital job.



People with central obesity (fat around the abdomen), those who lead a sedentary lifestyle or who have a family history of diabetes should be particularly diligent about their lifestyle habits.


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