DIABETES is one of the five leading causes of death in the world.
It is a chronic metabolic disorder, characterised by altered carbohydrate, lipid and protein metabolism.
Diabetes is typically caused by high blood sugar, a condition known as hyperglycaemia, which is controlled by the liver and pancreas.
These two organs work together to try and maintain and regulate blood sugar levels in the body.
The liver is responsible for maintaining blood sugar levels when you are not eating.
This is why sugar is stored in the liver as glycogen and fat for the body to use later.
While the pancreas is responsible for regulating blood sugar when you are eating, it secretes a hormone called insulin, which draws sugar from the bloodstream.
Diabetes occurs when there is a deficiency in insulin or resistance to the action of insulin at a cellular level.
Insulin is the key factor responsible for lowering blood sugar levels and allowing glucose to penetrate the cells.
It transfers sugar from the blood and delivers it to your muscles, liver and fat tissues, where it is used as fuel and nourishment for the cells.
The great Ayurvedic sages knew of diabetes.
They closely linked it to Madhumeha, which translates to the sweetness of urine. Ayurveda has always advocated the importance of following a healthy diet and lifestyle.
A scientific study was conducted to determine the role of an Ayurvedic lifestyle and diet, in the management of Madhumeha (Diabetes Mellitus).
A total of 30 patients were selected and divided into two groups. Group A was treated with an Ayurvedic diet and lifestyle regimen, with Varadi Kwatha (a medicine prescribed in Ayurveda), and Group B was treated with only Varadi Kwatha for eight weeks.
The study showed highly significant results in most of the parameters in both groups. It concluded that Group A showed promising results.
The following has also proven beneficial in managing diabetes:
* Include potassium in your diet: A deficiency in potassium leads to sugar cravings because the body cannot store sugar.
Therefore, one should consume potassium-rich foods such as kale, broccoli, and beet greens, Atlantic salmon, tuna, and bananas, etc.
* Barley: This is one of the primary food indications in Ayurveda.
It helps lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels; it also acts as a rich source of fibre.
* Fenugreek seed powder (methi): Several clinical trials showed the efficacy of fenugreek seeds in improving most metabolic symptoms, associated with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in humans, by lowering blood glucose levels and improving glucose tolerance.
In one study, researchers in India found that adding 100 grams of de-fatted fenugreek seed powder to the daily diet of patients with insulin-dependent (Type 1) diabetes, significantly reduced their fasting blood glucose levels, improved glucose tolerance, and also lowered total cholesterol, LDL or “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides.
In another controlled trial, incorporating 15g of powdered fenugreek seeds into a meal, eaten by people with Type 2 diabetes, it reduced the rise in post-meal blood glucose.
A separate study found that taking 2.5g of fenugreek, twice a day for three months, lowered the blood sugar levels in people with mild, but not severe, Type 2 diabetes.
* Embilica officinalis (Amla) is a natural source of Vitamin C and it stimulates the pancreas to secrete insulin.
* Avoid eating refined carbohydrates and protein together.
* Intermittent fasting,
* Consume foods rich in healthy saturated fats.
* Brisk walking or jogging, yoga, breathing exercises, and Surya namaskar will also be helpful.
* Consult an Ayurvedic physician before taking any prescribed medication that has been discussed.
* Born in Durban, Govender is registered with the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa to practice Ayurveda in the country. Her Ayurvedic practice is located in Pretoria East. For more information, visit doctortamlyn.com