Foods For Diabetic Individuals According To Ayurveda

By: Ruchira Roy

We all dread the "D" word. It is the lifestyle monster that has entered every household today. Every forth Indian is a diabetic today. India has beaten China in the number of Diabetic patients there are. Once you have been diagnosed with it, the next most important component of regulating Diabetes is managing what goes into your body in the form of food.

Do you gorge on kadhi chawal? You may want to reconsider what comes to your table now before it is too late. On the occasion of the World Health Day, here is a manual to the Dos and Don'ts for the diabetic individuals. Take a look.


1) How Often Do You Eat?

Wrong eating habits over prolonged periods of time can damage the pancreatic function. "An important point is when do you eat and how often do you eat," says Dr. Nisha Manikantan, Founder-Director, Sri Sri Ayurveda, an Ayurvedic doctor and practitioner for over two decades.

She further adds, "Today irregular snacking is very common. But in Ayurveda, we recommend Dwikal Bhojanam-meals at two times, at most, three times for anybody in the Pre-diabetic stage. And other times, you can have something light like butter milk or tender coconut water. When you eat many times, what happens is the body secretes a lot more insulin and then there is insulin resistance. Body cannot utilize it. Irregularity in eating is another factor (that causes Diabetes Mellitus to manifest in the body)."

Doctor Manikantan recommends:
- Eating at least three meals a day, along with one or two snacks evenly spaced out throughout the day.
- As far as possible, having each meal/snack at about the same time every day.
- Avoiding the skipping of your meals.
- Keeping about the same amount of carbohydrate intake in each meal every day.


2) Stop Eating Sugar :

"Avoid sugar," says Dr. Manikantan. Also, she adds, "Avoid foods that have high glycaemic index. Basically, a diet which has normal good carbohydrates and proteins and lot of greens is recommended. Ayurveda allows fruits also. And lot of vegetables, nut seeds. Also, diabetic patients cannot stick to two-time meal rule. They have to eat three to four times according to their diabetes type and type of person they are."


3) Do Not Eat Fruits If You Are A Diabetic - True or False?

Allowing all the fruits and vegetables in the diet is quite unlike prescriptions in other schools of medicine which do not allow certain type of fruits and vegetables in the diet. "Usually, we allow all veggies and fruits," says Dr. Manikantan.

She also says, "There are certain fruits which are really good for diabetes like berries, pomegranates. Amla is one medicine that triggers insulin secretion. The diabetic diet is not a simple one. There are certain fruits that can immediately cause an insulin spike but in the long term they do no harm. So for example, we allow one apple a day. Even fruits like mangoes and bananas that have high glycaemic index, we recommend them to be taken in limited quantities. What we have seen is, if we keep lot of restrictions on food that adds to the stress. So you don't have to avoid anything, but you keep it to very limited quantities. We have karela jamun (bitter gourd and Indian blackberry) juice as well. Both, bitter gourd and Indian blackberries can regulate sugar."


4) Say No To These:

According to Dr. Umesh, Associate Professor at Sri Sri College of Ayurvedic Science and Research, "Ati Dadhi Sevan - excessive intake of curd, especially in the night should be prohibited. Second is, eating aquatic meat like fish should be avoided. The meat has a sluggish quality to it. In Ayurveda it is believed, you become what you eat."

All the foods that increase the fat in the body, fried, excessive intake of oil, ghee, etc., especially freshly harvested crops, are responsible for aggravation of the kapha dosha in the body. Ayurveda strongly recommends avoiding newly harvested crops. The older the grains, the better it is for the body.

"So all these foods which are being consumed including palm oil - these are all non-saturated fatty foods which are very rich in cholesterol," says Dr. Umesh.


5) How To Douse The Sugar Craving?

"You can make desserts that are fruit based - date based or fig based," says Dr. Manikantan. She further says, "But that too should be consumed within limits. Also, we allow honey for diabetic patients because honey doesn't do any harm."

Herbs that can help with glucose metabolism are bur berries and haldi, or turmeric. If you take turmeric, amla and karela - there are plenty of combinations with these drugs that are healthy. Simple mixture of amla and haridra (Turmeric) in the proportion of 2:1 can do wonders to your body.


6) Here Is A Diabetes-friendly Recipe For You:

Bhara Bhindi (Stuffed Okra) for Diabetics
Ingredients Required:

  • Bhindi (Okra) - 250 g, slit
  • Coconut - 1 and 1/2 tbsp
  • Pumpkin - 2 tbsp
  • Fresh coriander - 1 tbsp
  • Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Black pepper powder - 1/4th tsp
  • Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
  • Rock salt - as per taste
  • Anaradana (dry pomegranate seeds) or fresh grated amla (Indian gooseberry) - 1/2 tsp
  • Garam masala - 1/4th tsp
  1. Slit the bhindi horizontally.
  2. Mix coconut and all the other spices to make the stuffing.
  3. Stuff the bhindi and steam it for eight minutes.
  4. Serve hot.
Read more about: foods, diabetes
Story first published: Friday, April 7, 2017, 16:00 [IST]
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