As we observe World Diabetes Day this month, let us understand how Ayurveda sees and manages diabetes, starting with the basics. Diabetes Mellitus, commonly known as Diabetes, is considered to be a metabolic disease that causes high blood sugar. It has been scientifically proven that genetic factors increase the chance of diabetes and we all know that it runs in families. But, even genetic reasons need a trigger through the environment or lifestyle. So, an unhealthy lifestyle with an imbalanced diet and lack of physical activity will double the chance of diabetes irrespective of genetic factors.
Diabetes in Ayurveda
Diabetes has been described as ‘Madhumeha’ in Ayurveda, a condition of passing ‘honey-like’ or ‘sweet’ urine. Very ancient Ayurvedic texts including ‘Charaka Samhita’, ‘Sushruta Samhita’, ‘Ashtanga Sangraha’, ‘Madhava Nidana’, ‘Yoga Ratnakara’, etc. have authentic accounts of diabetes and even describes it as one among 20 types of ‘Prameha’ or ‘Urological illnesses’. Medically, excessive presence of sugar in urine or blood is a condition called ‘Hyperglycemia’. Hyperglycemia is caused by reduced insulin production or insulin sensitivity. Ayurveda agrees that family history increases the risk of diabetes, but an unhealthy lifestyle aggravates the chance of becoming diabetic irrespective of genetic factors.
As per Ayurveda, factors which cause diabetes are :
- Excessive usage of salty, sweet, sour, heavy-to-digest foods
- Frequent usage of wine, and newly harvested grains
- Lowered mental / intellectual activity
- Lack of exercise
- Sedentary lifestyle
Ayurveda Treatment for Diabetes
Even after so many advancements in today’s medical science, there is no final cure for diabetes. A healthy lifestyle or changes in lifestyle seems to be the best solution to prevent diabetes as well as reduce its complications. Ayurveda seems to help diabetic patients in a great deal, because :
- Being a traditional medicine it not only concentrates on curing diseases but also advocates leading life in a scientific way to keep naturally healthy preventing ailments.
- Ayurveda is all about staying healthy through living in line with nature, including practices like ‘Ritucharya’ or leading life according to seasonal differences.
- Ayurveda, where every treatment will be based on each individual’s body type as per ‘tridosha system’, will give the best results for conditions like diabetes where an individual’s physiology plays a major role.
- Ayurveda sees health as a perfect balance between body, mind as well as the soul. This approach will help in managing metabolic disorders like diabetes, in which mental and emotional state is an influencing factor.
Ayurveda sees diabetes as a ‘Dhatupaka Janya Vikruti’, or a body ailment due to metabolic imbalance. So, as mentioned above, following a healthy lifestyle and diet is inevitable to prevent diabetes and its complications.
10 diet tips for Diabetes
- Ayurveda sees diabetes as an illness due to excess of Kapha (Type 2) or Vata (Type 1) doshas. So, it has been recommended to avoid fatty foods and dairy products to the maximum. Following a strict, less fatty meals including skimmed milk, yoghurt, three times a day seem to be ideal.
- Ginger tea is the best to accelerate digestion and reduce Kapha dosha, helping prevention as well as control of diabetes.
- Effectively including spices like Turmeric, Cinnamon, Mustard, and Coriander in daily diet will help in effectively managing diabetes.
- Hot fenugreek water is not only nutritious but also balances blood glucose levels. Having it every morning in an empty stomach will give the best results.
- Include bitter fruits and vegetables like bitter gourd, amla, and aloe vera in daily diet is extremely effective for diabetes.
- Adequate consumption of drinking water (2 litres daily) will eliminate excess glucose through urine as well as keep us hydrated.
- Reduce carbohydrates and sweets to the maximum.
- Following a healthy fibre-rich diet (including carrots, beans, pulses, broccoli, beetroots, etc.) will greatly help in the case of diabetes by slowing down digestion controlling blood sugar levels and giving a filled-feeling in stomach reducing appetite.
- Curry leaves are known to boost insulin activity, resulting in balanced blood sugar levels in our body. Including them in daily diet will help greatly in preventing or controlling diabetes.
- Unsweetened yoghurt not only provides nutrition but also known for its ability to naturally reduce the risk of diabetes by being low in carbohydrates and high in protein.
Considering the hereditary, physical, mental, emotional, as well as environmental reasons to recommend the most suitable lifestyle and therapeutic solution for each individual, Ayurveda can be considered as the best holistic and traditional system of medicine for conditions like diabetes.