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Ayurveda - The Perfect Diabetes Management Aid

Ayurveda - The Perfect Diabetes Management Aid

By Ayurvedacharya Dr Partap Chauhan, Director, Jiva Ayurveda

Dr Partap Chauhan, Director, Jiva Ayurveda
Dr Partap Chauhan, Director, Jiva Ayurveda

The global burden of Diabetes has become a huge cause of worry amongst health administrators the world over. Even though the actual causes are complex, there is good evidence that a large number of cases of diabetes and its complications can be prevented by a healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight, and avoiding tobacco.

Ironically, the unfortunate reality is how many diabetics actually know this simple fact! In most countries, especially the developing ones, diabetes patients are accustomed to believing that insulin injections and regular medicines are their only reprieves - things that will keep them going for a lifetime. And this far from the truth!

Ayurveda says sugar levels can be kept under control with the help of proper medication and a strict diet-lifestyle plan. Because Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder that arises when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces, it can only be treated if the body is rejuvenated in its entirety.

Decipher the Warning Signs

Education is of the utmost importance in the prevention of diabetes. Here's a list of symptoms that you should look out for in your body to make sure you are not suffering from any diabetes-related complication.

·         Frequent urination
·         Excessive thirst
·         Increased hunger
·         Weight loss
·         Tiredness
·         Lack of interest and concentration
·         A tingling sensation or numbness in the hands or feet
·         Other signs include blurred vision, frequent infections and slow-healing wounds

Don't ignore basic warning signs as they could be indicative of graver problems. In case you are unsure, consult your doctor immediately.

Remember, you are at the risk of Diabetes if you:
·         are obese or overweight
·         are physically inactive
·         have been previously diagnosed with glucose intolerance
·         have unhealthy dietary habits and meal times
·         are above the age of 40
·         are a patient of high blood pressure and high cholesterol
·         have a family history of diabetes
·         have a history of gestational diabetes
·         are from a particular ethnicity (higher rates of diabetes have been reported in Asians, Hispanics, and African Americans)

The Ayurvedic View

In Ayurveda, Diabetes is known as Madhumeha (Madhu means 'honey' and Meha means 'urine'). Medhumeha is categorized as Vataj Meha (a problem caused by aggravation of Vata). Vata is an Ayurvedic humor symbolizing wind and dryness. Deterioration of the body is a characteristic that indicates impairment of Vata. Maximum deterioration of dhatus (body tissues) occurs in this type of disease and this is the reason why all vital organs are affected by Diabetes.
The other prime cause of Diabetes is impaired digestion. Impaired digestion leads to accumulation of specific digestive impurities (known as ama) which accumulate in the pancreatic cells and impair the production of insulin.

The treatment of Diabetes recommended in Ayurveda - as against modern medicine - is aimed at rejuvenating the body to not only balance sugar levels, but also foster a positive change in the patient's life. Ayurvedic medicines work on the root cause of the disease, strengthening the patient's immunity, enhancing digestion and helping him lead an overall healthy life. Along with medication, dietary and lifestyle changes are also recommended to rejuvenate the body's cells and tissues, allowing them to produce insulin properly.

Daily Routine for a Diabetic

Wake up Time
Wake up by 6 am in the morning, as you also need ample time to exercise. Have a glass of lukewarm water mixed with two teaspoonful of fresh lemon juice every day.

Exercise forms an important part of treatment for diabetic patients. A morning walk is the best form of exercise. Yoga and meditation can also be beneficial, especially to relieve stress and bring clarity to the mind. If your health permits, opt for exercises such as jogging, swimming, cycling, etc.

In the morning, take two slices of whole meal bread with butter and fresh milk (boiled and taken warm). Seasonal fresh fruits can be taken occasionally, with or without milk.

At Work
If you are an office-goer, make sure you carry filling snacks with you all the time, as Diabetics are advised not to keep their stomachs empty. Instead of snacking on cheese, chips or crackers, enjoy a handful of nuts or seeds. Go for variety with sunflower, pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews, and walnuts.

For lunch, opt for steamed or lightly cooked green vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, tomatoes, spinach, turnip, asparagus and mushrooms. Vegetable soup or boiled vegetables can also be taken. In addition, two or three whole wheat bread (chapatis), sprouts, salad, boiled rice, lentils (daal) etc. can be taken according to appetite. A glass of butter milk (salty lassi) is a nice drink to end the lunch. Roasted cumin seeds, black salt, grated ginger and green coriander leaves can be added to the butter milk.

Daytime Sleep
If you are a non-working Diabetic, always remember not to sleep during the daytime, as it increases Kledaka Kapha. A sub-dosha of Kapha, Kledaka Kapha governs the protective mucous lining of the digestive system, thereby facilitating proper digestion. In an increased state, it can lead to impairment of digestion, which can cause additional problems in Diabetes patients.

Evening Snacks
Have a glass of fresh fruit or vegetable juice. You can also take Ayurvedic tea with roasted chickpeas.

Always remember that your dinner should be light and not have too many items. Boiled vegetables, sprouts, cottage cheese (paneer) or a bowl of salad made from fresh raw vegetables of the season. Also, make it a point to eat at least two hours before you go to bed.

Go to sleep before 10 pm. Have a glass of fresh boiled warm milk before going off to bed.