What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is one of the most common and fast – rising health problems in the world. Inadequate insulin production and less insulin resistance in the body cause Diabetes. In Diabetes, our body fails to react to the insulin that ultimately causes abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates, giving rise to higher blood sugar levels.
There are ideally two types of Diabetes that people suffer from – Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes also known as insulin-dependent Diabetes occurs when the pancreas secretes very little or no insulin. Our body uses insulin to break down sugar & transfer it to the cells as energy and also stores surplus glucose. On the other hand Type 2 Diabetes occurs because of insulin resistance and it can be with or without the reduced insulin production.
Diabetes & Ayurveda
According to Ayurveda, Diabetes or Madhumeha is one of the 5 major diseases of the human body. It is a metabolic (Kapha) disorder in which the functioning of ( Agni ) digestion decreases which leads to a tendency of increase in the blood sugar level. Today this metabolic disorder is increasing rapidly in India. It also causes damage to bodily tissues. Even when the blood sugar levels are kept under control with medicines, it can harm the eyes, kidneys or other vital organs slowly. Nirogam Salacia – O is a medicine that offers ayurvedic treatment for Diabetes if combined with a healthy diet and an active lifestyle. It can reduce medicine-dependence and heal the disease from the root-cause.
Causes of Diabetes
The cause of Diabetes is not specifically known yet. Genetic predisposition is considered to be the main cause of Type 1 Diabetes. But an unhealthy lifestyle & being overweight, especially having extra belly fat and an inactive lifestyle can make your cells more resistant to the effects of insulin.
Tips To Manage Diabetes Naturally
The blood sugar level increases when your body fails to supply glucose from the blood to cells effectively. If you leave it unchecked, this can cause Diabetes. Along with ayurvedic treatment for Diabetes, you can also do a few things to manage Diabetes naturally. Here are some tips to help you in doing so.
1. Exercise regularly
If you exercise regularly, your weight can be kept in check, which can help improve insulin sensitivity.
Improved insulin sensitivity means your cells can effectively use the available sugar in your bloodstream. Additionally, during exercise, your muscles use blood sugar for energy and muscle contraction.
Exercises such as weight lifting, running, brisk walking, swimming, biking, dancing, hiking, etc are good for Diabetic patients. But they should remember not to overwork themselves.
2. Reduce Intake of Carbohydrates
Our body breaks down carbohydrates into sugars (mostly glucose), and then insulin transports the glucose to cells. If you take too many carbohydrates or your insulin fails to do its function, your blood glucose level rises. However, you can manage this condition by reducing the intake of carbohydrates. You can keep a check on your carbs intake by taking low-carbohydrate food.
3. Take more Fiber-rich foods
Fibre helps reduce carb digestion and sugar absorption. As a result, the rise of blood sugar levels will be slow.
You can eat foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains to get high fibre contents.
4. Drink sufficient Water
Drink sufficient water as it helps reduce the blood sugar levels and maintains healthy limits. Furthermore, it helps your kidneys in flushing out the excess blood sugar through urine.
5. Reduce Stress Levels
Stress is another contributor to the rise of blood sugar levels. Stress causes secretion of hormones like glucagon and cortisol which increases the level of blood sugar. You can manage your stress levels by exercising, yoga, relaxation and meditation techniques.
Besides some ayurvedic treatment for Diabetes, there are some home remedies that can help manage blood sugar levels. Here are some simple home remedies to manage blood sugar levels effectively if you are a Diabetic.
- Intake of 2 teaspoons of raw bitter gourd (karela) juice once a day can reduce blood sugar levels. Eating cooked bitter gourd can also be helpful.
- Avoid eating too many sweets, carbohydrates, and dairy products.
- You can take turmeric juice or can add turmeric as an active ingredient in your regular diet.
- Keep water in a copper vessel and drink it the next morning.
- Soak one teaspoon of fenugreek seeds and consume the seeds with the water the next morning.
- Dry mango leaves and grind them into a powder. Take one teaspoon of this powder with a glass of water regularly.
- Mix half a teaspoon of ground bay leaf, half teaspoon turmeric, and one tablespoon of aloe vera gel. Take the mixture twice a day before lunch and dinner to control Diabetes.
- Ginger tea enhances digestion. So, you can take its help in reducing the excess kapha from your body.
Diet & Lifestyle Advice
A healthy diet plays a major role in managing type 2 Diabetes. A healthy diet not only reduces weight but also controls blood sugar levels. Here are a few tips to manage Diabetes.
- If you are obese, you must lose weight with targeted weight loss diet & exercises.
- You must take your meal at a specific time regularly and should try to reduce your intake of alcohol.
- Try to get your carbs from fruits, vegetables, whole grains and pulses.
- Oily fish and low-fat dairy products are good for Diabetic patients.
- Reduce intake of saturated fats and trans fat rich foods.
- Avoid packaged foods.
Yoga For Diabetes
Yoga is also an integral part along with medicine. It helps improve metabolic activities by stimulating bodily organs. Here are some yoga poses that help improve blood sugar levels.
It improves the hormonal secretion of the pancreas.
Stand straight keeping your feet close to each other. Keep your knees, legs and hand straight.
Then put your right foot on your left thigh by making a right angle. If you can’t put your foot on the thigh, try to keep your foot on the left leg wherever you can and keep up the balance. Now join your palms and bring them to the middle of your chest and do ‘namaskar mudra’ pointing upwards. Slowly raise your hands overhead. Stay in this position for 10 seconds, relax and do it on another leg.
2. Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
It stimulates the normal functioning of the endocrine system.
Dhanurasana or bow pose is named so because the body looks like a bow when performing this yoga pose.
Lie down on your stomach keeping your feet hip-width apart and your arms by the side of your body facing upwards. Breathe out, fold your knees and raise your feet up & towards your buttocks. Hold the ankles by taking your hands backwards. Then inhale, raise your chest above the ground and pull the heels as close as you can to your buttocks. Look straight while you stay in this pose. The posture of your body is now curved and looks like a bow.
After 10-15 seconds breathe out and relax your body. If you have a joint problem, avoid this pose completely or do not stretch your body too much.
This pose cures disorders of the pancreas, like Diabetes. It also corrects all the internal and external abdominal muscles. Additionally, it alleviates constipation, indigestion and intestinal disorders.
Uttanpadasana or raised-leg pose is done by lying on the back. Lie down on your back on the ground and keep your hands on either side with palms facing downward. Then breathe in slowly and raise one leg or both at the same time forming 45 – 60 degrees angle with the ground. Stay in this posture for 15-20 sec to experience pressure in lower abs. After that, relax your body while exhaling and come back to the original posture. Repeat this 3-4 times.
Similarly, you can practice Ardha Vakrasana, Halasana (Plough Pose), Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Twist Pose), Sarvangasana, Kapalbharti, etc.
While doing yoga for Diabetes, try to do as many poses as possible since this helps in stimulating the pancreas. Moreover, yoga helps in losing weight, maintaining a healthy weight and re-building muscle. Pranayama is also a vital part of yoga for Diabetes and you can do it at the end of your yoga practice.
Ayurvedic treatment for Diabetes was initiated in India. This treatment stresses on a healthy lifestyle. These health practices are meant for prevention, treatment of the disease and increased longevity. Besides medicine, the treatment also includes meditation, dietary changes, body relaxation techniques like yoga & massages and also herbal supplements.
Where physical exercises help utilize insulin, the relaxation techniques help reduce stress. Therefore the glucose levels reduce in the blood. The Ayurvedic medicines combining with meditation and relaxation techniques help balance the three life forces (doshas)- Vatta, Pitta, and Kapha. According to Ayurveda, these three life forces are the main causes of various diseases in our body.
If you balance these three doshas with dietary changes, herbal remedies, exercises and meditation, you can cure or prevent Diabetes.
Dr. Greeshma Nair, (B.A.M.S) is a Staunch believer that Ayurveda is not merely a science but lifestyle too. Her holistic approach towards diagnosis and treatment is based on the root cause of disease and gives you a three-dimensional solution to a condition that includes Ahaar (diet), Vihaar (lifestyle) and Aushadhi (medicines).