Know your Blood Sugar!
Did you know Nov.14th is celebrated as the World Diabetes day? Nearly 347 million people around the world are diabetic; to create a global awareness - the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health organization (WHO) marked this day – the birthday of Frederick Banting, co-inventor of Insulin – as the Diabetes day.
What is Diabetes and why is Insulin important to the diabetics?
Diabetes is a chronic condition when the body cannot produce or utilize the required amount of insulin. Our body uses glucose - as an energy resource from the foods we consume, making it available for all cells. Insulin is like the key that opens up all the cells to receive this energy. But without the use of insulin, none of the cells can open up and consume the glucose.
Pancreas produce insulin; but if the pancreas does not produce insulin in sufficient quantity, body is unable to utilize the glucose effectively, resulting in increased levels of glucose in the blood. This leads to diabetes and other complications related to hyperglycemia.
- 1. Frequent urination
- 2. Extreme hunger or thirst
- 3. Unusual weight loss
- 4. Extreme fatigue
- 5. Irritability
- 6. Blurred vision
- 7. Slow healing of cuts and bruises
- 8. Tingling or numbness in your hands or feet
- 9. Recurring skin, gum or bladder infections
Three types of diabetes:
- 1. Type 1 diabetes affects children and adolescents, requiring lifelong insulin injections.
- 2. Type II diabetes is the most common one affecting adults and is developed genetically or due to other factors such as obesity, lack of physical exercise and unhealthy food habits. This can be controlled if you reverse your lifestyle and at times aid with medications and/or insulin injections. Type II diabetics have the higher risk towards kidney, heart, vision and nerve issues.
- 3. The third type is gestational diabetes, which is a condition developed only during pregnancy and it affects 18% of pregnancies.
Natural remedies to help Diabetes:
Diabetes is a health condition that is capable of completely transforming you, for the better or for worse. You could accept diabetes and resent it, or be in charge and dictate it. I think the latter idea is a lot more positive! Personally, both my parents are diabetic and so I am at high risk for diabetes. I do avoid sugars and try to walk at least half hour every day. I do read a lot about Diabetes and look for natural remedies that I can imbibe into my life style. Here are a few I’d like to share with you:
- a. Limit foods with high fat such as ground meat, red meat, burgers, ham etc. and choose lean meat such as chicken or sea food.
- b. Studies show that Fenugreek seeds* have anti-diabetes effect which is capable of reducing the glucose absorption in the cells. Take one spoon of fenugreek seeds with a glass of water or butter milk every day. You could also add it to your salads and soups, if you don’t mind a bit of a bitter taste.
- c. Bitter gourd* is a tropical vegetable and studies show that it has anti diabetes quality to increase insulin sensitivity. It makes a great dish when fried with red pepper and salt.
- d. Quinoa – this South American grain is gaining popularity in reducing blood sugar levels. Quinoa is available in stores like Costco and can be a great substitute to rice or white flour. You need to monitor your blood sugar when you eat this, because your blood-sugar may go down quickly if you don’t balance it with other healthy foods.
- e. Cinnamon is believed to have a positive impact on improving the blood glucose control. It helps to add half a spoon of cinnamon to your cereals, or pancakes.
(* Available in Indian grocery stores)
In addition to all this, incorporate the following into your life style to maintain the blood sugar balance. Uncontrolled blood sugar can predispose to chronic kidney disease, stroke, heart attack and vision problems.
- 1. Daily Exercise
- 2. Healthy diets
- 3. Frequent Blood checks
- 4. Monitor your HbA1C (gives an average value of 3 months blood sugar levels)
- 5. Regular Eye checkups
- 6. Check your foot health
- 7. Regular doctor visits.
Perfect health is only a state of mind, and it is achievable through discipline and hard work. Take in charge of your life today and don’t let diabetes define you!