Often people with diabetes discover traditional medicine and holistic approaches are a winning combination. Ayurvedic medicine focuses on the connection between people, health, philosophy and the universe. Discover more about Ayurvedic body types and whether they relate to diabetes.
- Ayurvedic medicine is a natural treatment that can help people with type 2 diabetes improve their blood sugar levels when used in conjunction with traditional medical treatments. The goals of Ayurvedic medicine are to cleanse the body and help restore better balance. This includes changes in lifestyle habits, such as diet and exercise. Alternative therapies may also be used, including massage, herbs and more.
- People with diabetes are encouraged to eat a well-balanced diet, exercise regularly and reduce stress for optimum health. Ayurvedic medicine focuses on these three areas. First, the practitioner will determine the primary dosha of the patient. This refers to the natural forces in the body. Physical characteristics are noted, such as eyes, skin and teeth. A plan is developed to promote improved inner harmony to better control diabetes and help prevent related complications. It is also important for people with diabetes to continue to take medication and insulin as directed by their regular medical doctors.
- The three Ayurvedic body types are defined by two of five natural elements, including earth, fire, water, air and space. Kapha dosha refers to the physical being and is characterized by earth and water. Pitta dosha, related to our digestive system, is governed by the principle of water and fire. Vata dosha governs the nervous system and is represented by air and space. Some people might be defined by two doshas, based on testing done by an Ayurvedic practitioner. Questions relate to skin type, body type, general daily habits and dietary preferences.
- Ayurvedic medicine determines diabetes type 2 is predominantly a Kapha disorder related to the physical being. Those with type 1 diabetes may be classified as having an imbalance of the Vata dosha. An emphasis is usually put on complex carbohydrates with the reduction or elimination of sugar and simple carbohydrates. Fat intake is reduced, due to the limited pancreatic enzymes in people with diabetes. This can also help people maintain a healthier weight. Protein is also limited as excessive amounts may lead to kidney problems. Beneficial foods and spices could include cinnamon, almonds, ginger tea, beans, apples, pomegranates, buckwheat and turmeric. Lighter foods are encouraged, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Occasional diabetic snacks are a way to reduce cravings for sugary or fatty snacks that may not fit into the program. Choose low-fat dairy items in moderation, such as low-fat yogurt and skim milk. Cleansing programs may be recommended, such as an herbal sauna and relaxing massage.
- Exercise is part of an Ayurvedic program. This includes breathing exercises, meditation and yoga. This can help reduce stress, improve balance and build a stronger body. A focus is placed on mental, physical, social and spiritual balance. Walking, biking, swimming and fitness classes are also encouraged. To rejuvenate, Ayurvedic practitioners encourage at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
- Many of the concepts related to Ayurvedic body types are helpful to people with diabetes. It can help them focus on developing healthier lifestyle habits, including a well-balanced diet, reduced stress and ongoing exercise. Traditional medical doctors also recommend these lifestyle habits to help control blood sugar levels and reduce the possibility of developing diabetes-related health issues such as obesity, heart disease and stroke.
Some people with diabetes find it helpful to work with a licensed Ayurvedic practitioner as well as a traditional medical doctor. The goals are to develop healthier lifestyle habits and gain control of your blood sugar levels. Often a creative approach can be the best one!