Ayurved & Diabetes – Can it help manage diabetes better?
Dr. Surya Bhagwati, Head of Ayurvedic Practice at Dr. Vaidya’s – New Age Ayurved shares her experience of managing Diabetes with Ayurved Science
With a strong focus on holistic management of diabetes, where diet, exercise, lifestyle modifications, and use of medicinal herbs is combined for an effective treatment, Ayurved has the power to positively impact diabetes management. Ayurvedic approach to diabetes treatment can help avoid the potential health complications of this lifestyle disease. Read on to know more…
November 14: A few years ago, when the pandemic hit, as a practicing doctor, I was really worried about my patients. But very soon, online consultations started and quickly, I got used to and started liking it due to the convenience it provided, while allowing me to consult from the comfort of my home. So, while I do not deny the amazing contribution of technology in our lives, as they say, too much of anything is harmful, too much of technology intervention is unhealthy as well.
Over the years of medical practice, I have witnessed that the lives of many of my patients are dictated by technology, making them inactive and sedentary. The ease of ordering food online has increased the consumption of processed & fast foods, all of which are bad for our health. Sleep issues have increased and socializing has reduced. This has led to the rise in lifestyle disorders, the most widespread being diabetes.
If not managed well, diabetes could lead to life threatening health complications and can silently affect nearly all the organs of the body. In this article, I want to suggest to you all a very effective treatment to manage diabetes with Ayurved, the holistic way. Ayurved does not treat the mere symptoms of diabetes, but gets to the root cause of it to treat it at the root level.
Madhumeha (Diabetes) treatment with Ayurved
In Ayurved, diabetes is referred to as Madhumeha (when literally translated means sweet urine).
There are three main types of Madhumeha identified in Ayurved:
- Diabetes mellitus (Vata Prameha): It occurs because of an imbalance in the Vata Dosha (one of the three functional energies in the body, the other two being Kapha & Pitta dosha)
- Diabetes insipidus (Kapha Prameha): It occurs because of an imbalance in Kapha Dosha.
- Gestational diabetes: Develops in women during pregnancy. It usually resolves by itself post childbirth, but puts one at a greater risk of developing Diabetes mellitus later.
Diabetes mellitus is the common type of diabetes, where there is a rise in blood sugar levels and it can occur as type 1 or type 2, while Diabetes insipidus is an uncommon disorder that causes an imbalance of fluids in the body. It leads to producing large amounts of urine and makes the patient thirsty often.
The Ayurvedic way of managing diabetes is to correct this imbalance in doshas through a simple yet effective approach involving Aahar, Vihar and Chikitsa. It simply means getting your diet, lifestyle and medicine right to achieve balance of these doshas.
Finding the root cause of dosha imbalance
While having diabetes in family puts you at a higher risk of getting diabetes, Ayurved believes that the main causes of imbalance in doshas that lead to diabetes are largely your diet & lifestyle choices like:
- Sedentary or inactive lifestyle
- Excess sleep
- Eating too much sweet, heavy or sour foods that cause an increase in Kapha
- Being overweight
- Unhealthy diet & cholesterol levels
- Excessive consumption of alcohol & smoking
Ayurved believes in treating diabetes the holistic way. It therefore includes:
- Using Ayurvedic herbs with medicinal properties to balance doshas
- Dietary changes to avoid increase in kapha dosha
- Lifestyle changes to maintain active lifestyle and manage healthy weight
- Detox procedures to rejuvenate the body.
Ayurvedic herbs for diabetes management
Gudmar, Vijaysaar, Methi or Fenugreek, Mamejeva, Jamun seeds, Amla, Bitter gourd/bitter melon, Bel, Turmeric, Neem, Meshashringi, Triphala Guggulu, Saptarangi, Pippali, Haridra are few herbs that can help in management of diabetes. These herbs help in regulating the sugar levels, prevent sudden fall in blood sugar levels, nourish the vital organs and also promote glucose metabolism. Some of these herbs also help combat fatigue, excessive urination and thirst. The products that have these herbs can be consumed for effectively managing diabetes.
Ayurved based diet to pacify Kapha
Aahar or Diet forms an integral part of diabetes management in Ayurved. Here is the list of a few foods you need to avoid and some that you need to include in your diet to prevent/manage diabetes.
- Eat light, dry & warm foods and avoid foods that are oily, cold & heavy
- Milk products may aggravate the Kapha Dosha. It is recommended to avoid or reduce it. Opt for low-fat milk products instead.
- Avoid sour fruits like oranges; consume apples, pomegranates & berries
- Avoid rice & wheat because they are heavy and difficult to break down. Eat millet and corn instead
- Spices are good for Kapha Dosha. Use pepper, mustard, garlic and ginger in your diet
- Avoid salt or take it in moderation
- Use ghee in moderation, as it helps to strengthen the digestive fire
- Consume more beans & legumes (Moong, in particular, is recommended for diabetes patients)
- Avoid meats, as they may increase inflammation
- Dietary control of blood sugar requires consuming warm food, so drink warm water
- Bitter foods help in managing diabetes. Include them in your diet. Bitter gourd is recommended
- Include turmeric in your diet
Avoid eating fried foods, tuber vegetables like potato, yam, etc; aerated drinks, fruits like mango, custard apple & bananas; cakes, sugarcane products and wine.
Lifestyle & weight management
Lifestyle disorders can’t be managed without lifestyle modifications. If you are obese, the ayurvedic approach is to reduce the excessive fats in the body. It is important to add some amount of physical activity in your routine, with an emphasis on yoga and light cardio exercises. Yoga Mudra, Vakrasana or Twisting Pose and Ardha & Poorna Shalabhasana – Locust Pose are recommended.
If you are ill or have low immunity or low body weight, the ayurvedic approach is to strengthen the immune system. A panchakarma detox is suggested for cleansing and nourishing the body. Keep a check on your stress levels, as stress can trigger sugar levels. Meditation therapies can be practiced.
To conclude, Ayurved does not recommend a single course of action to all the patients suffering from diabetes. Each patient has different symptoms, diet, lifestyle, and health complications. Thus, the treatment plan is customized towards these aspects surrounding a patient’s life in order to bring their doshas into a perfect harmony. If you wish to try this science, I recommend you visit a certified Ayurvedic practitioner to customize the treatment for you.
Dr. Vaidya’s – New Age Ayurved has created a host of Ayurvedic Products to help in management of Diabetics’ lifestyle. You can explore them here
- MyPrash for Diabetes Care: A upgrade on traditional sugar free chyawanprash to not only manage blood sugar levels but also helps protect Kidney, Eyes & Nerves
- Diabex: Ayurvedic Tablets to help in Blood Sugar Management
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