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Excess of Bitter Food is harmful in Diabetes.

If you are diagnosed for high blood sugar; the first thing you will make change in your life is cut on sweet food and increase the intake of bitter food with a hope that bitter being the opposite of sweet; it will be helpful to control blood sugar. 

Taste, called rasa in Sanskrit, is the key to understanding ayurvedic nutrition. It is why certain foods influence some people’s digestion in a positive way while not for others. Each taste has a direct energetic effect on digestion, creating either a heating or a cooling sensation.

षडेव रसा इत्युवाच भगवानात्रेयः पुनर्वसुः, मधुराम्ललवणकटुतिक्तकषायाः|

ṣaḍeva rasā ityuvāca bhagavānātreyaḥ punarvasuḥ, madhurāmlalavaṇakaṭutiktakaṣāyāḥ|

There are only six tastes -

1. Madhura (sweet)

2. Amla (sour)

3. Lavana (Saline)

4. Katu (Pungent)

5. Tikta (Bitter)

6. Kashaya (Astringent)

Physical & Mental Effect of Six Rasas  on our Body :

Taste Physical Effect Mental Effect Source  
earth, water Sweet nourishes, builds and strengthens body tissues soothing, calming, satisfactory Carbohydrates, Protein, FatGrains, pasta, rice, bread, starchy vegetables, dairy, meat, chicken, fish, sugar, honey
fat diseases, obesity, diabetes lethargy, anxiety
water, fire Salty lubricates tissues, softens, maintains mineral balance and holds water enhances appetite and other tastes, enthusiasm, calms nerves and stops anxiety Mineral saltsTable salt, soy sauce, salted meats, fish, seaweed
wrinkles, thirst, loss of strength, baldness cravings, anger, impatience, lethargy
earth, fire Sour stimulates appetite and digestion, strengthens heart, relieves thirst and satiates enhances intellectual activities Organic acids: ascorbic acid, citric acid, acetic acidCitrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, pickled foods, salad dressing, yoghurt, alcohol
loss of strength, fever, thirst resentment and jealousy, anger, impatience, hot temper
fire, air Pungent warms body and promotes sweating, improves metabolism and relieves nerve pain opens mind and senses Essential oilsPeppers, chilies, onions, garlic, cayenne, black pepper, cloves, ginger, mustard, salsa, raddish, wasabi
thirst, depletion of reproductive fluid and strength, fainting, waist/back pain irritability, anger, impatience
earth, air Astringent cleanses blood and helps maintaining healthy blood sugar level, dries moisture and fat cools fiery minds,clears senses and emotions, removes lethargy TanninsLentils, dried beans, broccoli, green apples, pears, grape skins, cauliflower, cabbage, pomegranates, tea
gas or constipation, heart pain, thirst anxiety, worry, fear, insomnia
ether, air Bitter cleanses and detoxifies, reduces fat and water excess, relieves thirst and fever, antibiotic helpful in managing food cravings, clears senses and emotions Alkaloids or glycosidesGreen leafy vegetables, green and yellow vegetables, kale, celery, broccoli, sprouts, beets

Effects of the Rasas on the Doshas : 

Taste Vatta Pitta Kapha
Sweet 0 0 X
Salt 0 X X
Sour 0 X X
Punjent X X 0
Astrigent X 0 0
Bitter x 0 0

 Action of Bitter Taste – Tikta Rasa

स्वयमरोचिष्णुरप्यरोचकघ्नो  - Though not so good to taste, when taken, it improves taste in the person. विषघ्नः – Vishaghna detoxifies क्रिमिघ्नो – krimighna – kills germs and worms मूर्च्छादाहकण्डूकुष्ठ – Murcha daha kandu kushta – relieves unconsciousness, burning sensation, itching and skin disorders तृष्णाप्रशमनस्त्वङ्मांसयोः स्थिरीकरणो – relieves thirst, strengthens and stabilizes body ज्वरघ्नो दीपनः पाचनः – Jvaraghna, Deepana, pachana – useful in fever, digestive and carminative स्तन्यशोधनो – Stanya shodhana – cleanses, purifies breast milk लेखनः  - Lekhana – scraping क्लेदमेदोवसामज्जलसीकापूयस्वेदमूत्रपुरीषपित्तश्लेष्मोपशोषणो – dries up excess moisture, fat, marrow, lymph, pus, sweating, urine, Pitta and Shleshma. रूक्षः शीतो लघुश्च – Rooksha, Sheeta Laghu – dry, cold and light

Excess of Bitter taste causes -

रौक्ष्यात्खरविषदस्वभावाच्च रसरुधिरमांसमेदोस्थिमज्जशुक्राण्युच्छोषयति –

Due to dryness, roughness, non sliminess, bitter depletes Rasa dhatu (essence part of digestion), blood (rudhira), Mamsa (muscle tissue), Meda (fat tissue), Asthi (bone), Majja (marrow), Shukra (semen, female reproductive system) स्रोतसां खरत्वमुपपादयति – Srotasam kharatvam upapadayati – brings about roughness to the body channels बलमादत्ते – depletes strength and immunity कर्शयति – Karshayati – depletes body weight ग्लपयति – Glapayati -weariness मोहयति – Mohayati - unconsciousness भ्रमयति – Bhramayati - giddiness वदनमुपशोषयति – Vadanam upashoshayati -dryness of mouth वातविकारानुपजनयति  - Vata Vikara anupajanayati -causes diseases of Vata imbalance [43-v]

All the six Rasas, if properly used jointly or individually, in proper dose, bring about happiness to all living beings. Otherwise they are equally harmful to all. So a wise person should use them properly in proper dose in order to have good result. 

 Bitter is the coolest and lightest, making it best for pitta and least effective for vata, especially when taken without a proper balance of other tastes. Air and ether comprise this rasa, whose virya is cooling and whose vipak is pungent, making it quite cooling in the short term, but warming in the big picture.  

Be careful to consume the bitter taste in excess, as it’s known to create immediate coldness that can bring on bouts of grief and depression. Like sour, a little goes a long way. Make the bitter rasa a regular part of your meals but in small amounts. It will enhance the flavor of other foods and help to gently purify and cleanse the body.

Each of the six tastes also produce effects on each of the internal organs. They have the capacity to adversely affect certain organs in the body, when found in excess. 

The preferential use of rasa in diet

Rasas are extremely important in our diet and the diet should primarily consist of all the six rasas. In medicine, the Veerya (potency) is predominant whereas in diet, rasa is predominant. Consumption of a particular rasa in large quantities in particular seasons has also been advised. 

It has been instructed that madhur rasa (madhur dravyam not only constitutes sweet items like sugar, jaggery but also other food items like wheat, rice, maize etc.) should be consumed first, amla and lavana rasa should be consumed in the middle of the meal and tikta, katu and kashaya rasa should be consumed at the end. There is some ideological basis for this.

  • When a person is hungry, the stomach is empty. Empty stomach causes an increase in vata dosha. To pacify this vata dosha, madhur rasa should be eaten first.
     
  • Apart from this, kaphavruddhi is required to moisten the ingested food. This is accomplished by the madhur rasa.
     
  • Since dravyas, having madhur rasa are difficult to digest, it is advisable to eat these dravyas first.
     
  • After this, it is correct to use amla and lavana rasa. The reason for this is not to pacify the remaining vata but also to aid digestion by improving the agni.
     
  • Lastly, katu, tikta and kashaya rasa should be taken as these rasa increase the agni along with reducing the kapha which increase after ingestion of food.

 This rule applies in relation to health. But in pathological conditions this idea has to be modified accordingly. For example,

  • In anorexia and similar kapha disorders, initially ginger and salt i.e. katu and lavana rasa should be used.
     
  • Of these, katu rasa pacifies the kapha while the lavana rasa moistens food and pacifies vata.
     
  • Similarly, the order of using these rasa can be suitably altered taking into consideration the prakruti (nature of the person), individual preferences and the condition of the doshas.
     
  • At times, when rasa like lavana, amla and katu, which produce burning sensation, are used first, madhur rasa has to be used in the end in order to reduce the offending pitta.

Like for instance, in tropical countries, there is a custom to eat sweet preparations before starting the meal. This is useful in moistening the annavanha srotas (alimentary canal) before ingestion of food. Contrary to this, in cold countries, there is a custom of taking soups of amla and katu rasa. 

There is a definite order even in arranging food items in the dish:

  • Staple food like rice and chapatti are kept in the center of the dish.
  • On the left side sweet dishes are kept, then sour pickle and lemon.
  • Lavana rasa is kept in the center (right in front of the eyes) and tikta or katu rasa are placed on the right side of the plate.

 Therefore, plan your diet consciously taking into considerations all six rasas to nourish your body.

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Feeling Zapped ?? It could be your blood sugar!

Being a Diabetic, have you ever wondered why you feel so tired and lack energy?

feeling tired in diabetesThen you are not alone.  Almost 50% of the 366 million diabetics across the world suffer from lack of energy.   This is because fluctuation in blood sugar levels put tremendous strain on the body’s system.

The truth is that the diabetics have lot of potential energy from high levels of glucose in blood but their body is unable to make effective use of it because of insulin factor.  The diabetics cannot produce or properly utilize insulin, a hormone intended to transmit the blood sugar that cells use for energy.

Insulin resistance is one of the major problem for almost 90% of all diabetics (type 2 diabetes).  In such cases pancreas produces plenty of insulin, but the cells resist the efforts of insulin and won’t let the blood sugar in resulting in rise of blood sugar levels.

There are several other issues that may contribute to feeling low energy when you live with type 2 diabetes, including:

 Sleep Issues

Diabetics face several situations that can affect the amount & quality of sleep they get.  Fluctuations of blood sugar levels may interfere with sleep.  Neuropathy which causes pain or burning in the feet/legs that can also affect sleep.  Some of the diabetics also have “Restless Legs Syndrome” which may also affect quality of sleep.  Diabetics are also at risk of Sleep Apnea, a condition in which there is shallow breathing as well as repeated pauses in breathing during sleep.

Emotional concerns

Diabetics are at the risk for anxiety and depression which may create fatigue and/or low energy.  Anxiety and depression along with diabetes can be an unfortunate combination.  Lack of energy leads to not doing the daily self-care tasks that diabetes requires.

Overweight

Being overweight or obese can also play a role in low energy.  People who carry extra weight may not have the energy to get out and do the things they enjoy.

Stress

The body’s natural response to stress is to release hormones that increase the amount of glucose in the blood.  For people with type 2 diabetes, this rise in blood sugar levels can lead to decreased energy.

Dangers of High Blood Sugar Levels :

High Blood Sugar Levels among diabetics does more harm to their body apart from feeling tired and lack of energy.  It puts you at risk for heart disease, nerve damage, vision problems, memory loss and a weakened immune system.

What to do NOW??

  • Being a Diabetic, it is important to take the necessary steps:
  • Control your blood sugar – through the foods you eat, medications etc.
  • Improve insulin sensitivity 
  • Lose weight if you’re overweight (All of those excess calories that you don’t use, your body stores a fat)

One last point on this is sometimes the medications you are taking can decrease your energy. And some medications make you gain weight. If this sounds familiar it may be time to talk to your doctor.

Diabetic Energy Foods

Here are some foods that can help to give you that boost you need:

  • Lean meats
  • Whole grains
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Unprocessed foods

When you do begin exercise here are some great ways to get your energy levels up:

  • Weight training (Focus on the large muscle groups – legs, back, chest and midsection)
  • Calisthenics (pushups, pull-ups and setups)
  • Zumba
  • Aerobics
  • Swimming
  • Walking
  • Yoga

Just about any type of exercise that builds muscle is great for increasing your energy levels. And it will help to improve insulin sensitivity, which I mentioned above.

The good news is that, in general for every 1 point reduction in A1c, the risk of developing diabetic complications is reduced by upto 40%. This is a powerful evidence that shows any progress you make in controlling your blood sugar will result in tangible health benefits.

Regular use of Herbs can definitely Helps in maintaining blood sugar levels :

Several herbs have demonstrated positive results in blood sugar management among diabetics.  Pterocarpus Marsupium is one of the most appreciated herb that not only controls blood sugar but also delays the onset of complications associated with diabetes.  The aqueous infusion of heartwood of Pterocarpus Marsupium is used since ancient times in India for blood sugar management.  Apart from Pterocarpus Marsupium, Gymnema Sylvestra, curcumin, amla is also helpful in diabetes management.

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Daily intake of 56Gm of a Walnut benefits in preventing Diabetes & Heart Disease.

Recent study conducted by Yale Griffin Prevention Research Centre at Connecticut have concluded that daily intake of 56 gms of shelled, un-roasted walnuts per day can ward off diabetes and heart disease among at-risk individuals.

Researchers further found that a walnut improves endothelial function in overweight adults with visceral adiposity.  The study was conducted on 46 adults all within the age group of 30-75 years.  All participants had a BMI of more than 25 and a Waist Circumference exceeding 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women.  All the participants were non-smokers and all exhibited one or more additional risk factors for metabolic syndrome, a precursor of diabetes and heart disease.

walnut helpful in diabetes

 

Dr. David Katz, Director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Centre stated that their theory is that if a highly nutritious, satiating food like walnuts is added to the diet, it gives dual benefits: The benefit of nutrient rich addition and at the same time removal of the less nutritious foods.  The study concluded that daily intake of 56 gms of walnut improves endothelial function in overweight adults with visceral adiposity.  Dr. David further informed that the primary outcome of the study was that the change in flow-mediated vasodilatation of brachial artery along with improvement in lipid panel, fasting glucose and insulin, homeostasis Model Assessment – insulin resistance values, blood pressure and anthropometric measures.

Interestingly, Ancient Ayurveda has traditionally viewed 1500BC – walnuts as “Brain Food” and widely used to treat cardiac problems, reduce uric acid, gout, rheumatoid arthritis and certain sexually transmitted.  Walnuts are astringent and are good for people trying to balance kapha and Vayu.  Walnuts are considered to have “Medhya” qualities which nourish the brain.  Walnuts are also considered natural “Stress Busters”.  As per modern science walnut contains a high concentration of Omega-3 fatty acids.

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Warning : Diabetes Ahead

Being diagnosed with pre-diabetes is like a flashing road sign. It’s telling you there’s danger ahead. You must make adjustments to avoid real trouble.

In this case, diabetes is what you’re trying to prevent. Pre-diabetes means blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be Type 2 diabetes. Although getting diagnosed with pre-diabetes is a serious wake-up call, it does not mean you will definitely get diabetes. There is still time to turn things around.

There are things you can do to improve your lifestyle and live a long healthy life. In fact, major diet and exercise changes reduced the risk for 58 percent of people with pre-diabetes.

More than 79 million Americans — one in four of us — are prediabetic, according to the American Diabetes Association, and without significant diet and lifestyle changes, the condition could progress into diabetes.

To help motivate you to make necessary lifestyle changes, it’s important to understand what diabetes is, what it means for your health and why it’s imperative to try to prevent it.

People with Type 2 diabetes either lose the ability to respond to insulin or their bodies no longer make enough of the hormone. Insulin helps the body use glucose as fuel, so without it, sugar builds up in the bloodstream. Over time, especially if blood sugar levels are not kept in check, diabetes can boost a person’s risk of heart disease, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease and cause damage to the eyes, kidneys, nerves and other body tissues.

“When your blood glucose is high, there are changes taking place in the body — in the eyes, kidneys and nerves — 10 to 15 years before the onset of diabetes. That’s why prevention is so important,” said Dr. Neelima Chu, an endocrinologist at Sharp Grossmont Hospital.

Endocrinologists offer some guidelines to help stop this disease before it starts:

LOSE WEIGHT

Being overweight contributes to pre-diabetes, especially when the weight is carried in the central part of the body and fat surrounds the organs.You need to reduce your weight by decreasing your calorie or food consumption. You need to look at what you’re eating today that led to being overweight and reduce that

It’s a myth that eating sugar can cause diabetes. However, eating too much sugar can cause weight gain, which can contribute to diabetes.

“A reduction of only 200 to 300 calories a day can translate into about one pound per week,” Philis-Tsimikas said, noting that losing just 7 percent to 10 percent of body weight is enough to prevent diabetes. “You don’t have to have the perfect body to prevent the onset of diabetes, you just need to start with a reduction in body weight.”

GET MOVING

Physical activity is an essential part of the treatment plan for pre-diabetes because it lowers blood glucose levels, decreases body fat and boosts sensitivity to insulin. Research shows both aerobic exercise and resistance training can help control diabetes, but you’ll get the most benefits if you mix it up and do a variety of activities.

“There’s no magic to it. You don’t have to buy exercise books or join a gym,” Edelman said. “The best exercise and lifestyle changes to make are the ones you can do consistently.”

The ADA recommends a half-hour of aerobic activity (like dancing, tennis or fast walking) five times per week. Results from a 16-year study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that brisk daily walking reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 30 percent.

Resistance training is also recommended because muscle is a good absorber of blood sugar and gets it out of the bloodstream. Aim for a full-body muscle workout two to three times per week.

“Although exercise is good, exercise alone is usually not enough to bring down weight,” Philis-Tsimikas said. “You really need to combine exercise with diet. Exercise can then help you maintain your weight loss.”

REDUCE STRESS

Blood sugar rises with stress.

“Stress releases hormones in the body, which trigger the elevation of blood sugar and an insulin resistance state, so stress can actually promote worse blood sugar,” Philis-Tsimikas said.

To help minimize stress, try deep breathing exercises, yoga, meditation and exercise.

GET PLENTY OF ZZZS

You need at least six to eight hours of sleep to reduce cortisol levels, a hormone that elevates glucose.

Not getting enough sleep also increases hunger, which leads to weight gain and, you guessed it, raises your risk of getting diabetes. A sleep shortfall also makes it harder for your body to use insulin effectively and may make Type 2 diabetes more likely.

SEE YOUR DOCTOR REGULARLY

See your physician every three or four months to have your blood tested if you’ve been told you have pre-diabetes.

If you’re doing well, you can get positive reinforcement from your doctor. If it’s not going so well, your doctor can help you get back on track.

KNOW YOUR FAMILY HISTORY

If you know there is diabetes in your family, tell your doctor and make sure your blood glucose level is tested often.

“When someone is diagnosed, we tell them to tell their relatives (to get screened) because diabetes runs in families,” Edelman said. “Many people may not know they are at high risk for diabetes.”

If you have a genetic predisposition to pre-diabetes or diabetes, you may need medication to control blood glucose levels. Diabetes medication has come a long way and many of today’s most popular drugs have few or no side effects.

 

 

 

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