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Home Diseases Diabetes Diabetes & Dietary Discipline
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Disease - Diabetes
Written by Dr. Satish Bajaj   

Diabetes & Dietary Discipline

Going into the details of statistics of Diabetes will be the wastage of time for the reader as well as for the writer. The rise is so high that even the people not related to medical profession know the name of the disease as ‘SUGAR’. So, it becomes the duty of the medical professionals to guide the public to manage it at all levels, personal & mass.

Let us understand the phenomenon of the disease first, for a better management. Sugar (glucose, carbohydrates, starch etc.) is the very basic thing that is required by the body as instant source of energy. Each & every function being performed by the body requires this energy-providing group (COOH). The muscles of heart, lungs, intestines or external visible physical movements, all need energy. A definite level of Insulin hormone in the blood makes the cells to absorb this glucose &this energy in the cells performs all the functions of different organs of the body. This COOH group is like fuel which burns to produce heat (energy) in the body & its carbon molecule (C) is excreted out by lungs in the form of Carbon dioxide (CO2) which is simple to understand.

Diabetes & Dietary Discipline

The problem arises at two levels, i.e., either Beta cells of Pancreas, which secrete Insulin, start becoming inefficient & produce less insulin and/ or cells become resistant to Insulin.

Further, there are 2 types of Diabetes:

1. Type 1 Diabetes

Where more than 90 percent of Beta cells of Pancreas get destroyed (systematic defects, viral attacks, accidental damage to pancreas) stopping the production of Insulin & is called Type l Diabetes Mellitus - IDDIM or T 1 DM. It is controlled only with administration of daily doses of Insulin injections.

2. Type2 Diabetes

Efficiency of beta cells of Pancreas starts deteriorating resulting in decreased secretion of Insulin. This is type 2 Diabetes Mellitus or Non Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus, i.e., NIDDM or T 2 DM. T 2 DM is kept under control with daily doses of oral medicines. Medicines stimulate the pancreas to secrete more insulin. But, slowly their effect decreases and dose increases. In 5 to 10 years time, the patient is bound to take insulin injections.

Symptoms

The symptoms include polyurea (frequent urination), polydypsia (increased thirst, dryness of mouth), dehydration, weight loss, delayed wound healing, lethargy and sudden change of vision.

Causes and Complications

The cause of diabetes may be from Heredity to Obesity due to modern sedentary lifestyle, where there is no time for self health care. Chemically treated junk foods, cold drinks, preserved & processed eatables are all to be blamed.

Renal failures (Diabetic Nephropathy), Cardio vascular problems (Hypertension, Heart attacks, Strokes, Atherosclerosis etc.), Neuropathies (Numbness of feet, Erectile dysfunction etc.) and Diabetic Retinopathy are some of the major complications in this disease.

Naturopathy at a Glance

Naturopathy brings down the Blood Glucose level significantly in a week time in case of T2DM though it is very difficult in case of IDDM. If diagnosed very early, it may even cure Diabetes in certain cases. A careful monitoring of Blood sugar levels is required by regular testing. If a patient is taking medicines, even more care is needed as Blood sugar starts coming down & there arises a need to taper down the dosage of medicines.

There are basically two main groups of medicines, i.e., Sulphonylureas and Biguanides and they mainly work in three ways:

1. They stimulate the Pancreas to secrete more Insulin - Sulphonylureas.

2. They increase the peripheral uptake of glucose & thus reduce glucose levels in blood - Biguanides.

3. They reduce/ hamper the assimilation of glucose from the intestines by the blood. This action further reduces the sudden shooting up of Blood glucose levels, which are very harmful for a diabetic patient.

If we concentrate up on the action of medicines, it is very clear that all these above mentioned actions could be performed with the help of Naturopathy & Yoga. The stimulation of Pancreas is possible with Naturopathy Methodologies and specific Yoga asanas, as well as the peripheral uptake of glucose can also be maintained with some other Naturopathy treatments and brisk walks in the morning and evening. Controlled assimilation of glucose from intestines is also possible by simply changing the diet pattern.

Diet

Diet is the most important part to be taken care for diabetic patients. For Diabetics, the advice may be “Have Breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Prince & Dinner like a Pauper”. A heavy breakfast is recommended for a diabetic person because increased Blood sugar will be consumed by his day’s physical activity without harming the internal organs. Lunch should be slightly lighter, again for the same reason and the dinner should be very light because of the reduced physical activity during sleep. The diet planned in this manner will keep a check on rising Blood sugar levels.

A very short fast on vegetable juices or vegetable soups may prove beneficial.

Fibre/Roughage

This is the factor which is very important for Diabetics as it performs the function equivalent to a function of Biguanides, the third one as stated above. The fibre in fruits & vegetables does not get fully digested in the Alimentary canal. Rather at the first stage its semi-digested form absorbs the digested fluids and takes the shape of a bolus, which keeps on moving towards rectum with peristaltic movements of the intestines. In this process, it keeps on releasing the digested fluids slowly and in a controlled manner. Thus its function is comparable to the medicines. So a Diabetic should be advised to have a lot of green leafy vegetables, plenty of salads & whole grains. Never take pulses without outer covering, take it as whole. A certain `No` to fruit juices as they lack in fibre and are readily absorbed causing sudden rise in B. Sugar levels. Wherever possible, fruits & vegetables should be taken with skin & seeds. However vegetable juices & soups are more preferable as they have a low content of Carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates & Starch

These are always prohibited in Diabetes. But the daily requirement is fulfilled as lesser quantities of these found in other food. So potatoes, rice, sweet potatoes, beetroot, fine wheat flour etc. should be avoided. Avoid taking very sweet fruits like banana, sapota, mangoes, grapes etc. but go for papaya, guava, jambu fruit, falsa, prunes, cherry, loquat, pomegranate, peaches, zizyphus, slightly sour oranges, sweet lime etc. The mantra is that, fruits that are less sweet and/or sour are a safer & beneficial option.

Medicinal diet

It is recommended to cover the very first action by medicines, though not fully but it seems to help a lot. Take at least one vegetable a day that is slightly bitter in taste. Though it is not scientifically proven, yet it seems to work for Diabetics. Bitter gourd is a proven one but list may be extended to capsicum, fenugreek leaves, drumsticks & its leaves, guar beans, French beans, cowpea beans, sword beans, celery, colocasia leaves, curry leaves etc.

Aloe-vera pulps, Green tea, Garlic, Stinging nettle are proved to be helpful. Cinnamon is supposed to multiply the efficiency of Insulin. Juice from fresh green Amla (Indian gooseberry) is the best one. The quantity may be about 20 to 30 ml.

 Source - Nisargopchar Varta - January 2012

 
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