What Not To Do While Living With Diabetes

By Ayuvi
July 05, 2022
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India has the second-largest adult diabetes population in the world with every 6th person being a diabetic. According to ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research), there has been an alarming 150% rise in the number of diabetics in the country in the last 30 years. What is truly disturbing is the lowering of the age at which type 2 diabetes is being diagnosed with a lot of people in the age group between 25 – 34 being diagnosed with the disease, both in cities as well as rural areas.

Type I diabetes is an autoimmune disease which is characterised by insulin deficiency (where the pancreas either stops making insulin or makes it in very low amounts thereby making it difficult for the blood sugar to be absorbed in the bloodstream). Type II diabetes is a condition where the body does not use insulin produced effectively that is produced by the body.

  • Diabetes according to Ayurveda
  • Ayurveda refers to diabetes as Prameha (there are 20 types of Prameha) or sweet urine and states that it is primarily an acquired metabolic disorder resulting from poor lifestyle and dietary choices. A disease that is caused due to the combination of an aggravated Kapha and Vata dosha plus a weakened agni or digestive fire that slows down the metabolism and the digestion process resulting in excess blood sugar in the body. Diabetes also diminishes Ojas, the energy essential for boosting immunity & strength.

    Acharya Sushrut, who compiled one of the foundational texts of Ayurvedic medicine, the Sushrut Samhita, states that NidanParivarjan or eliminating the factors responsible for causing Prameha/diabetes is the basis of ayurveda for diabetes management. As per Ayurvedic teachings, diabetes prevention can be best achieved by following an Ayurveda prescribed aahara (diet) & vihara (lifestyle).

  • What should diabetics avoid doing?
  • Ayurveda considers diabetes as an acquired disease that can be prevented or managed by altering the diet and lifestyle choices. Ayurvedic guidelines state that there are some things that a diabetic should not do including

    • Atidadhisevan or consuming high quantities of curd. Curd is one of the main Kapha dosha aggravating foods that diabetics need to avoid. Eating dairy products or payas (rice cooked with milk) can also increase the Kapha dosha.

    • Pishta-snigdhaannasevana or eating starchy and fatty food. All foods that increase the fat/meda in the body (deep-fried foods, palm oil which has non-saturated fatty foods high in cholesterol or food items that have large quantities of ghee) aggravate the kapha dosha which is the main cause of Prameha.

    • Atidadhisevan or consuming high quantities of curd. Curd is one of the main Kapha dosha aggravating foods that diabetics need to avoid. Eating dairy products or payas (rice cooked with milk) can also increase the Kapha dosha.

    • Excessive use of navannapana or new grains. Strictly avoid eating freshly harvested crops as they are more difficult to digest and increase the kapha dosha. The older the grains the better they are to digest.

    • Ayurveda advises avoiding Ashitkaraaahara and ikshuvikara or sugar&jaggery products.Depending on the advice from your Ayurvedic Vaidya, reduce the intake of sugar and sugar products as well as foods that have a high glycemic index.

    • Modern medicine may advise fruits to avoid in diabetes such as bananas and mangoes that have a high glycemic index, but Ayurveda does allow moderate/limited consumption of these fruits (of course this depends on the severity of diabetes in the patient and the Ayurvedic Vaidya’s advice).

      Other foods to avoid with diabetes include eating the meat of aquatic animals as this meat has a sluggish quality to it and will slow down the metabolism and aggravate the kapha dosha.

    • Irregular snacking is a habit lot of people have (eating many times secretes a lot more insulin in the body causing insulin resistance), but Ayurveda advice dwikalbhojanam or eating twice (or three times) a day for prediabetics, at regular hours with nutritious, well-cooked food made from fresh vegetables and spices.

      But for diabetic people, sticking to two meals a day is difficult, they need to eat three to four times according to their diabetes type and their Prakruti.

    • Over consumption of sheeta (cold) and snigdha (soft) beverages can aggravate the Kapha dosha

    • Swapnashayana or excessive sleeping needs to be avoided. Taking naps during the day (more than an hour) increases the risk for high blood sugar. People who have poor sleeping habits are more prone to becoming overweight or obese and developing type II diabetes.

      Sleep disturbances and sleep deprivation can wreak havoc with hormones, increasing food cravings and causing weight gain, making the person more susceptible to acquiring diabetes.

    • Avyayam or lack of exercise. A sedentary lifestyle is one of the main reasons for developing diabetes. Not having a regular exercise schedule can lead to obesity and a general slowing down of the metabolism that can further aggravate the kapha dosha. Diabetics should stick with mild to moderate intensity exercises to control blood sugar, lower the risk of heart disease and reduce stress levels.

    • Not having a specific Dinacharya (Ayurveda-based day routines) and Ratricharya (Ayurveda prescribed night regimen) can affect the normal functioning of the daily body cycles and disturb the natural flow of tridoshas (vata, pitta and kapha).

    • Consume diabetes control foods (that pacify the kapha dosha) such as high fiber vegetables (bitter and astringent vegetables such as bitter gourd, fenugreek/methi seeds spinach, peppers, cabbage/patta gobi, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, sprouts, etc.) and grains (barley helps dry up excess fats or meda, millet, oats, whole wheat)
    • Pulses such as adhaki (arahar), horse gram (kulattha), and green gram (moong) are beneficial for diabetics in managing blood sugar levels
    • Avoid sugar, sugar products, rice, potato, ghee, butter, fat, regular oil, fermented food items, alcohol, urad (blackgram), rajma (kidney beans) and other heavy items
    • Include fresh (seasonal wherever applicable) fruits such as orange, watermelon, apple, jambu, kapitha, amla, papaya etc. that have low sugar content
    • Regularly drink water-soaked with methi seeds (kept overnight)

    • Include ayurvedic medicinal herbs in the daily diet such as Tulsi, neem, bel, Amla, dalchini, Triphala, (combination of amla, Haritaki and Bibhitaki), turmeric, etc. as these are highly useful in lowering blood sugar levels, help with insulin secretion, help balance the vata and kapha dosha, improve digestion and metabolism, etc.

    • Include pranayama and yoga in your dincharya. They help reduce stress which is one of the factors that causes diabetes

    • Regularly taking a steam bath can help reduce fats/meda from the body. Dry massage or udvartan is also beneficial

Diabetes is an acquired lifestyle disorder, following Ayurveda prescribed health tips mentioned above and avoiding lifestyle and dietary choices that may cause diabetes can be useful in preventing and managing (insulin resistance) diabetes successfully.

Book an ayurvedic consultation with expert Ayurvedic Vaidya to get personalized diet and exercise plans to keep your blood sugar levels in control.

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