Covid is almost over, but the next pandemic, as rightly said by many health experts, could be that of chronic illnesses. Diabetes is the worst concern among all as the metabolic disorder is growing rapidly across the globe, especially in India. 1 in 11 adults (90 million) today are living with diabetes and this number is expected to reach 113 million by 2030 and 151 million by 2045. A lifestyle disorder, diabetes can be best tackled with lifestyle changes apart from regular medication. What you eat during the day for breakfast, lunch, dinner and all the small meals in between can play a huge role in diabetes management. Switching to a diabetes-friendly diet with low GI foods, and certain spices and herbs along with regular exercise and sleep can play wonders and prevent you from the many diabetes complications in future. (Also read: Diabetes: Diet plan, dos and don’ts for diabetics to prevent sugar spikes)
“Type 2 diabetes is predominantly a lifestyle disorder. Although medicines do play an important role; it is lifestyle modifications which help up to 60 to 70% of management of individuals with type 2 diabetes. Among the factors which lead to uncontrolled diabetes are unhealthy eating, lack of exercise and stress,” Dr V. Mohan, Chairman and Chief Diabetologist, Dr Mohan’s Diabetes Specialties Centre told HT Digital.
“India is known as the ‘World Capital of Diabetes’ and the disease is spreading at an alarming pace. Diabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood glucose levels become abnormally elevated. There are two types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes, in which the body does not make insulin, and type 2 diabetes, in which the body produces insulin but is unable to use it effectively,” says Dr. Anurag Saxena, HOD- Internal Medicine, Primus super speciality Hospital.
HOME REMEDIES FOR DIABETES
Here are some natural home remedies to help regulate your blood sugar levels as suggested by Dr Saxena:
Neem’s astringent leaves are an effective treatment for diabetes because they contain a wealth of flavonoids, triterpenoids, antiviral substances, and glycosides that may help control blood sugar levels. Neem powder is created by blending some desiccated neem leaves in a blender until they are completely smooth. For best results, you can take this powder twice every day.
2. KARELA JUICE
Charatin and momordicin, two very important substances found in bitter gourd, have the ability to reduce blood sugar levels. Every morning, consume bitter gourd liquid on an empty stomach. To enjoy its benefits, you can also add one dish made with bitter gourd to your diet each day.
Jamun is renowned for its hypoglycaemic qualities, which can lower blood sugar levels. Add a teaspoon of powdered jamun seed in a tumbler of water. Drink it frequently on an empty stomach after thoroughly stirring.
Regular ginger consumption lowers blood sugar levels and balances insulin. Put a cup of water and an inch of ginger in a saucepan and come to a boil. After 5 minutes of simmering, separate. Drink this once or twice each day.
5. FENUGREEK POWDER
Fenugreek can help manage diabetes, increase glucose tolerance, reduce blood sugar levels, and stimulate the release of glucose-dependent insulin. It works well to manage both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Two tablespoons of fenugreek seeds should be soaked in water over night, and you should consume the water and seeds every morning on an empty stomach.
LIFESTYLE CHANGES FOR DIABETES
Apart from these here are some lifestyle changes for people with diabetes suggested by Dr Mohan.
Low GI foods
“In India, we eat too much of carbohydrate. If we cut down on carbohydrate and replace it with good quality plant-based protein like Bengal gram, green gram, black gram, mushroom, paneer, chana dal, moong dal etc, it will help to lower the glycaemic index and glycaemic load of the foods. Eating lot of fruits and vegetables and eating plenty of green leafy and other non-starchy vegetables are also important,” says Dr Mohan.
Exercise plays an important role in glucose control. I would recommend the acronym FAR for people with diabetes. F stands for flexibility, A stands for aerobics and R stands for resistance training. Apart from the aerobic exercise like walking, jogging, swimming, playing games like tennis or badminton, flexibility is also very important and also resistance training which means lifting small weights like 2kg dumbbells.
Apart from this stress reduction plays an important role because stress is one of the important causes of uncontrolled diabetes. This is where Pranayama or deep breathing play a big role, as control of stress itself can help to control diabetes.
Herbs and spices
Apart from these, there are certain food ingredients which can help to control diabetes. Fenugreek or methi seeds is one of the best researched ones as it has been shown that if you add fenugreek or methi regularly to your diet. It can help to reduce the postprandial blood sugar levels and improve insulin secretion and action. Cinnamon has also been shown to improve diabetes control. Neem leaves, for example, have been very popularly used apart from bitter gourd or karela. These are all natural remedies, which being food based cannot produce any harm, and can be used as supplements to treatment.
“Having said that, please do not try any untested and unscientific treatments, as they can produce harm including damaging the liver or kidney. Whatever home remedies you do, please keep in mind that it is also important to visit your doctor for periodic check-up for not only diabetes but also your eyes, kidney, heart and feet which can be affected in the long run. Diabetes is a silent killer, and we may not know what complications it is producing until it is too late. Hence make it a point apart from doing all the home remedies to also meet the doctor and take the necessary medications as suggested by your doctor,” concludes Dr Mohan.