Health Tips
Stay healthy by reading wellness advice from our top specialists.

One of the most common myths about diabetes is that it is caused by consuming too much of sugary foods. Indeed, sweets can affect your body but they do not cause diabetes. Diabetes is a health condition which is caused by high blood sugar levels. It is extremely unhealthy and can adversely impact the overall health.

However, there's also no denying the fact that intake of sugar items in such conditions can increase it significantly. Hence diabetic patients should avoid high sugary foods in order to prevent hyperglycaemia, also known as high blood sugar. If you're suffering from diabetes, then it is of utmost importance to take care of your carbohydrate intake as it can trigger the sugar levels to a great extent.

When it comes to desserts, it is essential for diabetic patients to not go overboard with them. Having diabetes not always means that you totally have to cut yourself from sugar. Instead, you may swap it with some other natural sweets.

According to Expert Nutritionist Dr. Rupali Datta, "Diabetic patients can have desserts until the desserts are providing them with nutritional requirements. They should make sure that the desserts are made with artificial sweeteners and with the help of natural ingredients. You can even have brown rice with milk with some artificial sweeteners and can add some dry fruits to enhance the taste. What matters is that they should be made up of natural ingredients and sugar substitutes must be there".

Desserts like cookies, pastries, cakes and ice creams should not be eaten as they won't be providing you with the sufficient nutritional value.

Instead, you could opt for low-fat sugar-free frozen yogurt, fig bars, or even some unsweetened oat cookies. If you happen to have a sweet tooth and find it difficult to resist on them, then make sure that you buy one bar at a time, instead of buying in bulk and storing it at home. This will save you from unnecessary odd hour munching. Apart from this, it is quite important to give priority to the nutritional value in the anything you consume. So, choose wisely!

Diabetics have to be wary of their dietary choices, considering their diet may impact the blood sugar levels. Take for instance, the 'healthy cooking oils' that generally promise good health are actually doing more harm than good. So, what's the best option?

Ghee! Although ghee contains a good amount of fat, it has made its way to the good-books of many healthy experts. Ghee has long been used as a medicinal ingredient that has essential nutrients that may help keep diabetics healthy. What makes ghee an excellent ingredient for diabetics?

Let's find out.According to Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Health Coach Shilpa Arora, "Ghee is medicine for diabetics. The fatty acids in ghee help in metabolising and balancing high blood sugar. Moreover, if ghee is added to rice, it becomes easier for the diabetics to digest the sugar from rice effectively. Make sure you use vedic ghee. Milk should ideally be used from desi gir cows to reap maximum benefits."

Here are a few reasons to add ghee in your daily diet.
1. Desi ghee or clarified butter is a source of healthy fat, which helps in absorbing the nutrients from the food that you are eating. This process helps in regulating blood sugar level, further ensuring diabetes management.

2.Ghee is known to regulate smooth functioning of the digestive system. Including the right amount of ghee in your daily diet will ensure proper management of constipation.

3.It is the presence of linoleic acid in ghee that helps to reduce possibilities of various cardiovascular diseases that are some of the common complications in diabetes.
.The fat deposits accumulated in the body are said to melt down by the right consumption of ghee thereby helping to manage diabetes in an efficient way.

4.Consumption of ghee has been known to improve the functioning of gut hormone.

5.This function helps enable better secretion of the hormone insulin, which in turn helps in managing diabetes.

6.Ghee is also known to be a rich source of vitamin K and other antioxidants that help boost immunity, which is generally weakened in case of diabetics.

7.Using organic ghee can actually help reduce bad cholesterol levels.

8.Adding ghee to high carbohydrate foods with high glycaemic index like rice, white bread, parathas, et al may actually help lower their GI and benefit diabetics.

While ghee is a great ingredient, one should remember that moderation is key. Do not overdose on ghee and make it a key to eating everything unhealthy. Also, ensure that the ghee is homemade and not store-bought. Consult your diabetologist before even consuming a spoonful of the wondrous ghee in order to reap its maximum benefits.

Diabetes is one of the most common health conditions prevalent in the country. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the total number of diabetics in the year 2000 stood at 31.7 million, and is expected to rise by more than 100 percent in the year 2030 to account to a whopping 79.4 million. Diabetes is a condition where a person is incapable of producing enough insulin or is not able to utilise the insulin present in the body.

While diabetes was mostly considered a genetic pre-disposition, nowadays, it is mostly caused by the lifestyle we are leading in the modern times. It is characterised by prolonged elevated blood sugar levels, which can, in turn, lead to other health problems like cardiovascular diseases. This condition cannot be treated completely; however, can be regulated and managed with a few lifestyle changes and dietary tweaks.

Most health experts suggest cutting rice from a diabetic's diet, considering it may affect the blood sugar levels. Rice forms an important part of most Indians' diet, especially in south India, north and north-east India. It is generally suggested to cut down on rice because of the following reasons,

1.It is full of starch, which when consumed may lead to a spike in the blood sugar levels.

2.Secondly, it does not contain fibre, which is responsible for delaying the absorption of sugar and help regulate blood sugar levels.

3.It is a high glycaemic index food, which means foods with glycaemic index of 70 and above cause your blood sugar levels to spike.

4.It has carbohydrates that the body breaks down or converts into sugar glucose. Glucose, in turn, is absorbed into the bloodstream and with insulin; it travels into the cells of the body where it can be used for energy. However, diabetics cannot utilise the insulin, which further spikes blood sugar levels.

All these factors make rice quite the culprit for diabetics; but does this mean that one cannot eat rice at all? Here's what our expert has to say. Rice for diabetes; a question that most of us have on our minds. According to Macrobiotic Health Coach, "A bowl of rice at lunch or dinner can be eaten. Ensure that you have dal and ghee with rice to reduce the rapid rise in blood sugar levels. A diabetic can eat both white and brown rice; brown rice is generally recommended, considering it has more fibre content; however, it may sometimes prove to be an irritant in the gut. Traditional Ayurvedic healing diets include white rice and never brown as white rice is easier to digest with nutrients easily available to the body."

According to American Diabetes Association, starchy foods can be a part of a healthy meal plan, but portion size is key. Whole grain breads, cereals, pasta, rice and starchy vegetables like yam, potatoes, peas and corn can be included in your meals and snacks. In addition to these starchy foods, fruits, beans, milk, yogurt, and sweets are also sources of carbohydrates that count in your meal plan.

How To Cook Rice?
Ideally, one should remove starch from the rice and eat it with protein-rich foods. Here's how you can make rice without starch.

1.Wash the rice thoroughly. Now take a pan and boil water, which is three times the quantity of rice.

2.Add rice to the boiling water; cook it on a medium flame for about five to six minutes.

3.Once the rice starts to boil, a foamy and thick creamy substance will start to float on top.

4.This foamy substance is the starch.

5.Allow the rice to cook until the water is reduced in quantity and rice grains start to float on the top.

6.Check if the rice has been cooked; it should feel soft and tender.

7.Remove the pan from the stove and strain the excess white coloured starchy water.

8.Serve hot with protein-rich vegetables, dal or curries and enjoy!

If there is a constant ache in your neck, sitting at your desk for long hours may be one of the reasons. Besides this, uninterrupted sitting for a long period of time can lead to a number of health problems.

Dr Naveenchand Dambekodi, consultant orthopaedic and joint replacement surgeon, Columbia Asia Hospital, says that half of the patients that come to him complaining of back problems are corporate sector employees.

Sitting for more than eight hours can lead to postural problems like disc damage, strained neck and swayed back in the long run. It can also lead to some other serious health concerns like:

Heart problems
Sitting for long hours can lead to high blood and increased cholesterol levels. These conditions can lead to various heart problems.

More chances of diabetes
Lack of movement by the body leads to a slower response of cells in the body muscle to insulin produced by the pancreas. Thus, they produce more insulin that can cause diabetes.

Muscle degeneration risk
In order to maintain strength and flexibility of the muscles, it is important to use them or the muscle fibres can weaken and break down. Sitting for long at your desk can lead to developing hyperlordosis, tight hips, and lump glutes.

Elevated stress levels
When the muscles are indulged in movement, breathing quickens that increases the oxygen supply to the brain and blood. This releases mood-enhancing hormones, called endorphins that help you feel happy, thereby reducing stress. However, a sedentary lifestyle leads to elevated stress levels.

Back problems
Long hours of sitting can lead to imbalances in the spinal structure including disc damage, inflexible spine, strained neck, sore shoulders and back. While physiotherapy is recommended to deal with the pain, some easy exercises can help correct the damage.

Perform Yoga
Several yoga postures engage almost all the muscles in the body giving them a good work up. Performing yoga asanas in the morning and evening can be beneficial.

Take a stroll
Instead of sitting at your desk the whole day, make sure that you take a five-minute stroll every hour to improve your blood circulation.

Stretch now and then
Make sure to stretch your limbs now and then, while sitting. When you are at home, stretch hip flexors every morning/evening for five minutes.

Correct posture
A number of back problems can be avoided with the right sitting posture. Try sitting in an upright position without crouching and make sure you give your back a good rest.

Neck exercise
Performing neck exercises can help relieve the stiffness. While sitting straight, drop the head slowly to one side, then the other. Performing this daily for five minutes can help provide relief.

Diabetes is one health conditions Indians should be seriously worried about. With 50.8 million people suffering from diabetes, India continues to be the ‘diabetes capital’ of the world. The statistics are just not on our side. According to the International Diabetes Federation, nearly 9% of the India’s population is likely to be affected from diabetes by 2030.

Understanding diabetes

All the cells in your body need sugar to work normally. Sugar gets into the cells with the help of a hormone called insulin. “If there is not enough insulin, or if the body stops responding to insulin, sugar builds up in the blood. That is what happens to people with diabetes,” explains Dr Sandeep Sharma, general physician and diabetologist, Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai.

Today, more and younger people are at risk of developing diabetes. One of the biggest culprits is frequent consumption of processed food. Mahesh Jayaraman, co-founder, sepalika.com (a healthcare platform), says, “These days, it is an incredibly common trend to hang out at cafes where it is hard to find even a single item on the menu that is healthy.” Couple that with a sedentary lifestyle, high stress levels and irregular sleeping patterns, and you are likely be on the fast track to diabetes.

Even though type 2 diabetes might not make you feel sick, it can cause serious problems over time, if it is not treated. “The disorder can lead to a heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, vision problems (or even blindness), pain or loss of feeling in the hands and feet, the need to have fingers, toes, or other body parts removed (amputated),” says Dr Sharma.

Early screening is the key to detect the disease. Dr Vimal Pahuja, consulting diabetologist and metabolic physician, Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital, Mumbai, says, “In 95% of the cases, the patients show no symptoms. It is only in the remaining 5% that we see symptoms.”

Be alert and look out for the symptoms of diabetes:

Darkening of certain parts of the body

Certain areas such as behind the neck, armpits and the groin are insulin sensitive areas. When the body develops insulin resistance, these areas become dark. “The scientific term for this is ‘acanthosis nigricans’. When levels of hbA1c (which is a measure of blood sugar levels) are above 6, the American Diabetes Association considers it full blown diabetes,” says Jayaraman.

Unexplained tiredness

When one feels tired for no reason, it is a sign that although the blood is full of sugar, the cells are unable to access that sugar. Because of this, one feels excessively tired. “If this happens for 2-3 weeks, it could be time to see a doctor,” says Jayaraman.

Feeling excessively thirsty/frequent urination

This is a sign that the body is trying to remove sugar from the system. Unusual, frequent peeing, about 10-12 times a day, is a sign that something is off. However this could sometimes also be attributed to external factors such as the season. For instance, one is prone to drinking more water and peeing a bit more frequently during the summer. This does not mean he/she has diabetes. “You are the best judge of change in your normal body patterns. If one is beginning to experience 2-3 of the signs mentioned here, then it may be a cause of concern,” adds Jayaraman.

Deteriorating vision

Delicate blood vessels in the eyes are easily damaged by a corrosive and inflammatory element such as excess blood sugar, and vision begins to deteriorate. “A lot of times people find out about their diabetes through a check-up with their eye doctors,” explains Jayaraman.

How to avoid diabetes

Prevention, as they say, is really the best cure. To reduce your chances of getting type 2 diabetes, the most important thing you can do is control your weight. If you already have the disorder, losing weight can improve your health and blood sugar control. “Being active can also help prevent or control the disorder. One can prevent the occurrence of diabetes by including lesser carbs in the diet, with regular exercise, weight reduction, quitting addiction and regular health checkups,” says Dr Sharma.

Dr. Amar S. Shete
Dr. Amar S. Shete
BAMS, Family Physician, Pune
Dr. Anand Karale
Dr. Anand Karale
MS - Allopathy, Gynaecologist Obstetrician, 5 yrs, Pune
Dr. Prashant Wankhede
Dr. Prashant Wankhede
MS/MD - Ayurveda, Pune
Dr. Nilima  Pawar
Dr. Nilima Pawar
BHMS, General Physician Homeopath, 12 yrs, Pune
Dr. Hema Chandrashekhar
Dr. Hema Chandrashekhar
BAMS, Ayurveda Family Physician, 28 yrs, Pune
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