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When we eat food with sugar content, the body is able to metabolise it successfully. Excess sugar is removed from the body naturally. Diabetes is a disease that causes excess sugar in the blood. It occurs because of the inability of the body to break down sugar. Excess blood sugar can be a serious problem. Thanks to people eating more junk food and following a sedentary lifestyle, diabetes has become very common. Even children are falling prey to this lifestyle condition. Ayurveda looks at diabetes from a holistic approach. Ayurvedic medicine for diabetes along with dietary changes and lifestyle changes can help control blood sugar and help manage diabetes.
Types of Diabetes
Diabetes type 1 is a condition where the beta cells are destroyed and the body fails to produce insulin. This is a serious problem and insulin needs to be taken lifelong, so the body can metabolize sugar effectively. This condition cannot be prevented. It may be because of an autoimmune problem where the immune system attacks the beta cells mistakenly.
Diabetes type 2 is mostly a lifestyle disorder. Lack of exercise and poor dietary choices can lead to the malfunctioning of the cells that produce insulin. As a result, the insulin produced is not sufficient to break down glucose. This causes an increase in blood sugar levels. The diagnosis of diabetes is done as follows:
- The blood sugar level of more than 126 mg/dl in a fasting blood sugar test (done after the patient fasts for 8-10 hours) and post-prandial blood sugar level of more than 200 mg/dl (done 2 hours after the patient has a meal) is diagnosed as diabetes.
- If the fasting blood sugar is between 101 and 126 and the post-prandial blood sugar level is between 140 and 200 mg/dl, then this is termed pre-diabetes. This is a condition that can cause diabetes if immediate action is not taken. At this stage, lifestyle and diet changes are needed to prevent diabetes.
Ayurveda and Diabetes – Causes and Understanding the Ayurvedic Perspective
In Ayurveda diabetes is referred to as Madhumeha (literally meaning sweet urine). According to Ayurveda, the causes of diabetes include:
- Being physically inactive
- Excessive sleep including sleeping during the daytime
- Eating too much sweet food
- Excessive use of curds
- Eating too many foods that cause an increase in Kapha
- Consuming meat soup
Ayurveda considers digestion to be a very important process. The effective working of the digestive system requires the digestive fire known as Agni to be working well. If this digestive fire is weakened (due to Dosha imbalance or other reasons), then it causes many problems. It causes a buildup of toxins that could affect the normal working of the body.
Ayurvedic Approach for Diabetes
Ayurveda recommends the use of a holistic approach the help in the management of diabetes. While conventional medical systems rely on medicines alone, Ayurveda recommends the use of a multi-prong approach. The management of diabetes in Ayurveda includes:
- Use of remedies prepared from herbs.
- Therapies help detoxify and help rejuvenate the body. This is needed in severe cases of diabetes.
- Dietary changes.
- Changes in lifestyle.
Let’s look at the dietary changes and lifestyle changes needed to help manage diabetes.
The diet we consume should be in accordance with our body constitution. When a person has diabetes, there is an aggravation of Kapha or Vata Dosha. Depending on the Dosha aggravated, the diet should help pacify the Dosha. The weather also must be considered while planning the diet.
The diet to pacify Kapha needed to help manage Diabetes type 2 would include:
- Eating foods that are light, dry, and warm and avoiding foods that are oily, cold, and heavy.
- Milk products aggravate the Kapha Dosha and it is better to avoid or reduce it. Low-fat milk products can be consumed. Ghee can be used in moderation as it helps to strengthen the digestive fire.
- The Kapha diet needs more beans and legumes. Moong beans, in particular, are very helpful for diabetes patients.
- Light fruits like apples, pomegranates, and berries can be eaten.
- Rice and wheat are heavy and difficult to break down. Light grains like millet and corn can be eaten.
- Spices should be used while cooking as they are good for Kapha Dosha. Pepper, mustard, garlic, and ginger must be included in the diet. Ginger tea is beneficial for digestion. Salt, however, should be avoided or taken in moderation.
- Ayurveda recommends avoiding meats as they may increase inflammation.
- Dietary control of blood sugar requires consuming warm food. Patients should drink warm water.
- Foods that are bitter helps in managing diabetes. Bitter gourd is an important vegetable that should be included in the diet. Turmeric is another important spice that should be included in the diet.
- Foods to be avoided are fried foods, soft drinks, fruits like mango, custard apple, dates, and banana should be avoided. Cakes, sugarcane products, and wine must be avoided.
Lifestyle changes are needed to ensure helpful management of diabetes. One of the main causes of diabetes is the lack of physical activity. This is why exercise is a must. Those who have prediabetes need to do a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. This will help in bringing blood sugar levels under control. Exercise can be done by taking a brisk walk, jogging, playing a sport that involves movement, cycling, or swimming. Obesity is one of the reasons for increased diabetes. Reducing weight is essential and exercise can help do this.
Ayurvedic Supplements for Diabetes
Ayurveda has many remedies that help in the management of diabetes. Taking an Ayurvedic medicine for diabetes type 2 can be helpful in keeping blood sugar under control. Diabetes type 2 can be helped to manage by taking a specific Ayurvedic capsule for blood sugar. Along with diet and lifestyle changes, this supplement help to reduce blood sugar levels to normal and help lead to a healthy level.
Those having type 1 diabetes can help manage their blood sugar levels using the best ayurvedic supplement for type 1 diabetes. While type 1 diabetes cannot be reversed, it helps manage blood sugar levels.