Let’s understand the Diabetic Diet guidelines based on Ayurveda and the underlying causes for Diabetes. Also an insight into the lifestyle changes required to control Diabetes.
Diabetes: According To Ayurveda
In mechanized life, we are dominated by technology, living an inactive and sedentary lifestyle. Unmindfully we are eating an unhealthy diet, high in processed foods, fast food, and sugary beverages, all of which are bad for our health.
These bad selections of food trigger an imbalance in our bodies, leading to a variety of illnesses and diseases. Diabetes is one of the epidemics, we humans are suffering because of our lazy lifestyle with wrong food habits prolonged over time.
Let’s Understand Diabetes
There is a myth that due to excessive sugar intake, one gets Diabetes. But diabetes is the malfunction of the pancreas, a gland behind the stomach, that does not produce enough of the hormone insulin, or the lapse in the body response to use insulin properly.
What is Insulin?
Insulin helps carry sugar from the bloodstream into the cells. Once inside the cells, sugar is converted into energy for immediate use or stored for the future. That energy fuels many of our bodily functions.
Insulin exists in the central nervous system, where it executes two important functions in the hypothalamus: the suppression of food intake and the improvement of glucose metabolism.
Our hypothalamus gland signals our pancreas to release insulin. When there is a malfunction in this signaling there is a problem in the insulin hormone that leads to glucose metabolism in our body leading to a state of Diabetes.
Ayurveda defines the following causes of diabetes:
- Lack of activity throughout the day.
- Sleep deprivation and stress.
- Excessive dairy product consumption.
- Eating processed and highly refined food, unbalanced meals
- Sleeping in the daytime.
- Eating less fiber-rich food.
Diabetes can develop in one of two ways, according to Ayurveda:
- Dhatukshaya: loss of Dhatus or tissues in the body
- Avarana: blockage of pathways or channels in the body
When our body has an increased Kapha Dosha, we tend to have blockage of channels or other tissues such as fat or muscle. Due to an unhealthy lifestyle, the essence of digestion is compromised, metabolism of food slows down leading to ama(toxin accumulation) in the body and thus energy that provides power to the body, mind, and soul is compromised too.
Ayurvedic Management of Diabetes
When diagnosed and treated early, the reversal of Diabetes is easier and quicker. Instead of starting with the medicine, which just controls the level of sugar but not the root cause of the gland’s malfunction, one should make drastic lifestyle changes.
Ayurveda recommends addressing the root cause. It’s important to stimulate the digestive fire (Agni).
One should consult an Ayurvedic doctor to understand the following:
- Dietary restrictions and recommendations
- Nutritional recommendations, food restrictions
- Yoga exercises
- Shodhana (Ayurvedic detoxification, such as Panchakarma),
- and Ayurvedic herbal preparations
- Diabetic Diet Food Choices
Diabetic Diet Based on Ayurveda Wisdom
Dos & Donts
- Eliminate all processed and packaged food from your lifestyle
- Choose a fiber-rich plant-based diet. High fiber diet: Vegetables, fruits, grains (barley, oat, millet, whole-wheat).
- Include Grains: Jowar, Barley, Bajara, Ragi
- Eat Pulses: Chanaka (Bengal gram), Adhaki (toor dal), Mudga (green gram), Kulattha (horse gram).
- Limit intake of dairy products.
- Avoid sugary and refined sugar products. Only jaggery in moderation can be taken.
- Choose bitter, astringent foods that help keep blood sugar levels in check. Vegetables (bitter and astringent): Methi (fenugreek), Patola (pointed gourd), Karvellaka (bitter gourd), Tanduleyaka (choulayee), Vastukam (bathua), Shobhanjana (drum stick), Rasona (garlic), Kadali (unripe banana).
- Eat Fruits: Jambu (jamun), Amla (goose berry), Kapittha (monkey fruit), Dadima (pomegranate).
- Seeds: Methi (fenugreek), Flaxseeds
- Include natural products and spices: Madhu (pure natural honey), Madhudaka (honey + water), flaxseed oil, mustard oil, Murmura (puffed rice), black pepper, rock salt, Hing (asafoetida), turmeric, Ardrak (ginger).
- Consume a lot of cooked green vegetables.
Along with a Diabetic diet follow yoga and exercise daily.
Yoga is a calming practice for the Kapha dosha. Yoga exercises are beneficial. Mayurasana is a very useful Yoga posture (peacock position). Surya Namaskara, Trikonasana, Bhujangasana, Shalabhasana, and Pavana Muktasana are some of the other roles. Pranayama for diabetes is alternate nostril breathing.
Do 30min walk daily to keep your stress hormones in control.
Meditate to keep your mind calm and to sleep better
Don’t sleep in the daytime and Sleep on time at night. Sleep is very important for the functioning of glands and hormones.
Note: To stay healthy and to avoid diabetes or to cure it in early stages is to avoid sedentary life, prolonged sleep, day sleep. You must avoid dairy products, alcohol. You should keep checking on anxiety, anger, stress. You must sleep on time.
*If you are in the early stage of Diabetes it’s always advisable to adopt the lifestyle and dietary habits under the supervision of your Doctor. All these dietary and lifestyle guidelines are good for anyone to stay healthy and free from diabetes.