Curb diabetes with fruits and veggies | Daily News

Curb diabetes with fruits and veggies

Diabetes can kill, maim, cause you to go blind and damage your internal systems and organs. It is inviting disaster and people know it. Yet unhealthy lifestyles are a temptation that is difficult to resist. One way to manage diabetes and avoid it from happening is through the diet. We need to be careful as to what we are putting into our bodies and in what quantity we are taking it. Green Thumbs speaks to Institute of Indigenous Medicine, Department of Dravyaguna Vignana, Senior Lecturer, Dr. S. D. Hapuarachchi on fruits and vegetables that we can include in our diet in order to control diabetes.

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder, if the patient has Diabetes Mellitus, he or she has to maintain the condition throughout his or her life. Sometimes it can be maintained by medicine –Ayurveda or Allopathy or by controlling the diet.

“Nowadays we see a trend where people want to use natural or herbal medicine to maintain their blood sugar levels. They ask if there are any Ayurveda herbs or natural medicinal plants that can be taken to maintain blood sugar levels. There are so many plants that can be consumed to address diabetes. Some are fruits and some are vegetables. Maintaining is done by controlling the blood sugar levels. Complications resulting from diabetes are cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, blindness and infection,” said Hapuarachchi.

Synthetic drugs are created using man-made chemicals rather than natural ingredients. As humans we need to protect our kidneys, liver and internals systems. If we are taking synthetic drugs for a long time, it affects our liver, our kidneys, the pancreas and the rest of the body. To prevent such deteriorations people like to take some natural medicine.

“Natural medicine means herbal medicine or herbs that can be used as a Nutraceutical. If the patient has Diabetes he must take vegetables with the bitter taste. Vegetables with a bitter taste are excellent and one good example is Karawila. It has the bitter taste. It is very good for diabetes whether as a vegetable or as a juice. But when we are taking these medicinal plants that are good for diabetes, getting advise from an Ayurveda physician is important. Otherwise the blood sugar levels will be reduced beyond the limit that is normal.

As a medicine, when eating a vegetable and taking it as a juice, the concentration levels are different. If we are using Karawila as a vegetable while eating it with rice, it is different from the juice of the vegetable taken as one cup of Karawila juice. The more effective is the juice, but without the advice of an Ayurveda physician it might be harmful. Meaning, the blood sugar levels are reduced beyond the normal limit. You can get hypoglycemia. That is also not good. Drinking Karawila juice every day, the blood sugar levels are reduced. So without medical advice taking Karawila juice is not advisable, because hypoglycemia is not good,” explained Hapuarachchi.

Another plant is Nelum Ala. It is a Sri Lankan recipe in the market, and is good for Diabetic patients. But if it is contaminated with some other heavy metal, it is not good as food. But it is good for Diabetes as a vegetable. It is edible – stem and tuber.

“The Ash plantain is also good for Diabetes. Plantains can be used for cooking at any stage of ripeness, but ripe ones can be eaten raw. The unripe fruit can be taken as a vegetable curry. Plantains have a variety of medicinal uses,” said Hapuarachchi.

In Ayurveda, if the pancreas is not working normally, the bitter taste of these plants, has much value, as its property goes into the tissue and cellular level and helps.

“Nelli juice is also good for diabetes as well as uguressa juice and cucumber juice.

The Kohila vegetable is also good for diabetes. The Madam fruit – the bark, fruit and seeds are good for diabetes. Grapes, guava, apples, mango, anoda, pineapple, papaya and berries and citrus fruits are good for diabetes because of their anti-oxidants. When mango is in an early ripened stage it is good for diabetes.

The Jackfruit immature leaves are also good for diabetes, as it has an astringent quality. In any fruit, the early ripened stage is good for diabetes. If it is ripened, one or two pieces are good,” pointed out Hapuarachchi.

She also stated that in diabetic patients, if they are eating the whole fruit as it is, it is better than drinking the fruit juice. If we are eating the whole fruit, all the vitamins and fiber contents are there. For diabetic patients it is better eating the fruit as it is.

“When preparing the juice, all the fiber materials break up and chemical constituents change when blending, and it is easily absorbed. So the glycemic level increases, increasing the blood sugar level as it is (when it is more easily absorbed the blood sugar level goes up). If they are eating the fruit as it is, then it slowly absorbs,” added Hapuarachchi.

Hapuarachchi also laid emphasis on the point that you might think the sugar content of fruit means that you can’t eat it. But, the sugar in fruit is natural, and is not this type of sugar we need to cut down on.

This is different to the added sugar in drinks, chocolate, cakes and biscuits. Obesity and unhealthy lifestyles including smoking and heavy alcohol consumption have been known to worsen the diabetic condition, whereas physical activity plays a favorable role in managing diabetes.

Sufficient intake of dietary antioxidants mainly from fruits and vegetables can provide a balanced defense mechanism against the harmful effects of reactive oxygen species (free radicals) and may reduce the risk of diabetes.


Type 1 & 2 Diabetes

Symptoms and Causes of Diabetes NIDDK

Type 1 diabetes occurs when your immune system, the body’s system for fighting infection, attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas. Scientists think type 1 diabetes is caused by genes and environmental factors, such as viruses, that might trigger the disease.

Type 2 diabetes (the most common form of diabetes is caused by several factors, including lifestyle factors and genes). It usually begins with insulin resistance, a condition in which muscle, liver, and fat cells do not use insulin well. As a result, your body needs more insulin to help glucose enter cells. At first, the pancreas makes more insulin to keep up with the added demand. Over time, the pancreas can’t make enough insulin, and blood glucose levels rise.

Your body converts the food you eat into glucose that your cells use for energy. But your cells need insulin to bring the glucose in. If your body doesn’t make enough or any insulin, or if your cells resist the insulin your body makes, the glucose can’t get into them and you have no energy. This can make you more hungry and tired than usual.

Symptoms of Diabetes

* increased thirst and urination

* increased hunger

* fatigue

* blurre vision

* numbness or tingling in the feet or hands

* sores that do not heal

* unexplained weight loss


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