India is witnessing a rise in diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is one of the leading public health issues we face. Our ethnicity, genetic predisposition, makes us more vulnerable to diabetes, the reason for this is our lifestyle. Urbanization, long working hours, stress, lack of sleep, eating processed foods and lack of physical activity are the main reasons. Prevention and control of diabetes requires continuous and consistent efforts. Diet plays an important role in the prevention and control of diabetes, and spices and certain foods have also been found to support weight loss. Blood sugarImproves glucose metabolism, improves lipids, improves antioxidant capacity and capillary functions, prevents heart diseases.

Also Read: World Diabetes Day 2022: Date, Significance and 5 Foods to Include in Your Diet

If we look at the modifiable causes of diabetes-

  • Weight: Overweight/obese, waist-to-hip ratio, increases risk of diabetes.
  • Exercise: Lack of exercise increases the risk of insulin resistance and obesity.
  • Controlling blood pressure helps to better manage diabetes and prevent its onset.
  • Cholesterol: Low HDL (good cholesterol) and high triglycerides increase the risk of T2DM.
  • Smoking increases the risk of many health problems, especially diabetes.
  • Alcohol: Drinking too much alcohol has a harmful effect on the pancreas, can lead to inflammation and damage to the liver.
  • Lifestyle: Poor food choices, stress and lack of sleep are the most important contributing factors to the onset and management of blood sugar.

All these can be easily controlled by making the right choices. Regular screenings, regular doctor visits, taking your medications as recommended by your doctors, a healthy diet and a good lifestyle are the way to go.

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Photo credit: Istock

Protective foods: Research suggests certain spices, herbs and vegetables that support sugar control and delay diabetes and its co-morbidities. Here are 3 that can be added:

1. Cinnamon: It is a common spice found in all our kitchens. It has been widely studied for its effects on blood sugar control. In a study published by the American Diabetes Association, when cinnamon is taken at 1.3 or 6 gm, the blood glucose level is reduced by 18-29%, and it also reduces triglycerides (23-30%), LDL (7-27%), and cholesterol. 12-26%) which means it not only controls blood sugar but also the risk factors associated with T2DM. Another meta-analysis published in the Annals of Family Medicine reported similar results. This effect is possible because cinnamon improves the level of glucose in cells, improving the activity of cell receptors and increasing insulin production, thus improving insulin resistance.

How to drink: Grind whole cinnamon into powder and add 1, 3 or 6 grams and it can be consumed with water. Start with 1 gm and if comfortable 3 gms can be taken for 2-3 months

Also Read: Cinnamon Water For Diabetes: How Does It Work? Recipes, benefits and more

2. Fenugreek or Methi Seeds: This has been used in India for a long time to control diabetes. Fenugreek is an ancient medicine that has been used in traditional Indian medicine for decades. Research shows that fenugreek seeds increase insulin sensitivity in cells, stimulate insulin production and improve carbohydrate metabolism. Fenugreek seeds lower triglycerides, cholesterol (TC) and LDL-C. A compound in them, sapoganin, increases the excretion of cholesterol in bile.

How to eat: Drink 10 grams overnight and eat with water. Powdered fenugreek powder can also be used. 1 teaspoon twice a day. It can be added to dahi, or sprinkled on chapati

3. Karela/ Bitter Melon: A bitter herb that has long been used to control diabetes. This effect is due to the fact that the active compounds found in Karela, such as Charanti, reduce blood sugar, VC and a compound similar to insulin-polypeptide-P. Another compound, lectins, works by suppressing appetite and lowering blood sugar.

How to use: the whole vegetable has been found to be effective, so it can be cooked and eaten 2 medium pcs daily. It can be ground or juiced and eaten, but raw form can cause indigestion.

I chose these three because they are readily available and have some good research to back up these claims. However, the first line of treatment must be determined by your doctor, these are not alternatives to medicine but must be taken together. It is also important to eat nutritious food, in the right amount and at the right time, along with physical activity. These are part of the whole, and not a magic bullet that will replace good lifestyle choices.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability or correctness of any information in this article. All information is provided on an “as is” basis. The information, facts or opinions presented in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV, and NDTV assumes no responsibility or liability for the same.

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