Diabetes is a huge health concern in the world today. It is a chronic condition marked with high sugar levels in the blood. Uncontrolled diabetes can negatively impact health, leading to heart ailments, vision loss, and kidney failure.
Diabetes, therefore, should be taken seriously, and no stones left unturned in managing it.
A Quick Understanding of Diabetes
Digestion breaks down the carbohydrates in our food to glucose – the simplest form of sugar – releasing it into the bloodstream. As the glucose levels rise, the pancreas is triggered to release insulin, the hormone that enables glucose to move from the blood into the cells.
Sometimes, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin (Type 1 diabetes), or the insulin produced is not used effectively (Type 2 diabetes), causing blood glucose levels to become dangerously high.
Over time, we’ve become sedentary, with little physical activity. Our diet too has changed. Freshly cooked, balanced meals have given way to processed food high on saturated fats and carbohydrates. These lifestyle changes combined with stress and pollution are why Type 2 diabetes has seen a steep rise.
Ayurveda – A Holistic Approach to Diabetes Management
Ayurveda goes beyond the symptoms to the root cause. It’s a way of life that blends herbal treatments with healthy practices and routines. This comprehensive approach helps in managing chronic lifestyle disorders, like diabetes.
For diabetes, Ayurveda suggests a holistic blend of herbal remedies, diet, yoga, and lifestyle changes. This approach helps manage blood sugar and the symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, obesity, tiredness, etc.
The Ayurvedic way of Managing Diabetes
Ayurveda recommends the following lifestyle changes and diet:
1. Ayurvedic Medicines for Managing Sugar
In Ayurveda, the human constitution is a combination of three doshas: Vatta, Pitta, and Kapha. Good health is the state where all three doshas are equally balanced. Diabetes is caused by an excess of Kapha dosha.
Here are a few herbal remedies to normalize the Kapha dosha and reduce sugar levels –
- Neem – Contains glycosides and flavonoids that help lower sugar levels. Mix 1 tsp of Neem powder in a glass of water – drink twice daily early morning and before bedtime.
- Bel leaf – Provides anti-diabetic and antioxidant action. Chew 4-5 bael leaves on an empty stomach in the morning.
- Fenugreek – Soak 10 gm of methi overnight, in a glass of water – drink the decoction on an empty stomach early in the morning.
- Bitter Gourd – Contains polypeptide-p, an organic molecule with hypoglycemic activity. Take 30 ml of karela juice on an empty stomach early in the morning.
- Jamun – Contains jambolana that helps prevent the conversion of starch into sugar. Chew 4-5 leaves, or take 1 tsp of Jamun seed powder in the morning.
- Amala – Contains vitamin C that helps manage tissue damage caused by high sugar. Take 20 ml of Amla juice twice daily.
- Triphala Churna – Take approximately 5 gm daily of triphala powder for two months to help manage blood sugar.
Strictly following these Ayurvedic tips may be challenging. You can opt for herbal diabetes care solutions, such as Jamun Karela Juice available in the market.
2. Track Your Eating Pattern and Eat Healthily
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) emphasizes Nutrition Therapy for diabetes control. Because, in diabetes, diet plays an important role.
Begin by tracking eating patterns: what you eat, how much you eat, and how often you eat. This will motivate you to cut back on unhealthy, processed food.
Adopt a freshly-cooked, fiber-rich, low on carbohydrates diet. Eat –
- A mix of vegetables to get enough micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) – bitter gourd, drumstick, etc.
- Plenty of leafy greens for the fiber and iron – Palak, Amaranthus, Malabar Spinach (Poi), etc.
- Salads, for they are low on calories and high on nutrients.
- Whole lentils (horse gram, black gram, pulses, etc.), for protein and fiber.
- Millets, which are gluten-free and high in antioxidants. Try replacing rice with millets and barley.
- Unpolished rice – if you are a rice eater, have a small quantity of unpolished, red rice.
3. Avoid Unhealthy Food
Knowing what not to eat is as important as knowing what to eat. Read up on the correlation between glycaemic index (GI) and weight.
The GI ranks foods from 0-100 based on their ability to increase blood sugar levels. You should avoid foods with a 70+ GI (listed below) –
- Sweetened (containing sugar and jaggery) food items and drinks – pastries, Indian sweets, chocolates, fruit juices, smoothies.
- Food items containing refined flour (maida) – white bread, cakes, biscuits, pasta, pizza.
- White rice, rich in carbohydrates – if you are a rice eater, go for unpolished, red rice.
- Fruits high in sugar content – grapes, banana, mango, apple, pineapple, watermelon.
- Vegetable high on carbs – potato, sweet potato, corn, green peas, yam, beetroot, beans.
- Fried food loaded with saturated fat and carbs.
4. Incorporate Yoga and Workouts in Daily Routine
Do work-outs and take long, brisk walks to burn the excess sugar and lose weight. Practice following Asanas to reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications –
- Viparita Karani (Legs up the wall pose) – helps relieve stress.
- Ardha Matsyendrasana (Sitting half spinal twist) – exercises the stomach and spinal cord muscles; supports overall wellness.
- Dhanurasana (Bow pose) – helps exercise the entire body and reduce stress.
- Paschimottanasana (Seated forward bending pose) – Helps relieve anxiety, headache, and fatigue.
- Halasana (Plow pose) – helps relieve backache and headache. Supports good sleep and helps stimulate the thyroid gland.
5. Make the Following a Second Nature
Last but not least –
- Monitor blood sugar frequently, for sugar levels can fluctuate dramatically in diabetes.
- Never miss medications, for it could lead to other complications.
- Consult your doctor regularly and strictly follow medical advice.
Dr. Rupali Dhote is an Ayurvedic Doctor at Baidyanath, works at Baidyanath Life Science, and contributing writer at Fitzabout, post graduate in Biochemistry. Barkatullah University, Bhopal. Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. …