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Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder that results in higher levels of blood sugars in the body. It is assuming epidemic proportions, and India has become the new diabetic capital with more than 50 million diabetic people. The main problem with diabetes is it does not completely go away, and there is a whole myriad of issues that it brings along with it. Heart attacks, strokes, eyesight problems, delayed wound healing, nerve damage and impotence. Therefore, diabetes and by that we mainly mean blood sugar levels have to be managed so that there is delay in onset of the associated conditions and/or reduced in severity.
Ayurveda refers to diabetes as Prameha (excessive urination) and Madhumeha (sugary urine) and has identified close to 20 forms of the disease. According to Ayurvedic belief, each disease is caused due to imbalance in kapha, pitta, and vata doshas and diabetes is caused by all these, predominantly by kapha. With any stream of medicine, management of diabetes involves two tracks - one is lifestyle changes and the second is medications.
Lifestyle changes include the following:
- Diet: Reduce the amount of rice, sugar, potato, sweet fruits, maida, deep fried foods, and red meat. Protein-rich foods like lentils, soya, green leafy vegetables and fish should be increased. Diet plan should change to small, frequent meals instead of binge eating.
- Exercise: Include 30 minutes of regular exercise into your daily routine if you have a diabetic predisposition.
- Others: Avoid smoking and alcohol, ensure sufficient sleep, avoid sleeping during day time, improved foot and eye care, periodically check sugar levels, and manage stress levels.
Ayurveda has a whole lot of home remedies proven to be very effective against diabetes.
- Jambhul: Eugenia Jambolana whether eaten raw or juice extract has been shown to have beneficial effects in managing sugar levels and cholesterol.
- Gymnema sylvestre: Used to manage diabetes for over 2000 years, it reduces sugar cravings and is being touted as the future for diabetes treatment.
- Bitter gourd (Momordica charantia): It has 3 components that give it strong antidiabetic properties. The charantin reduces blood sugar levels; the polypeptide has insulin-like effects; and lectin that again has hypoglycemic effects.
- Bel (Aegle marmelos): Also known as wood apple, leaves of the plant are shown to have antidiabetic properties. 5 to 10 leaves can be chewed on a daily basis to help control blood sugar levels.
- Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum): Consuming 10 g of fenugreek seeds soaked in water increases the amount of insulin produced, thereby increasing sugar breakdown.
- Neem: Chewing about 4 to 5 leaves in the morning on an empty stomach helps to control blood sugar levels. Alternately, neem leaves powder is available which can be dissolved in water and consumed.