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

Mango is known as the 'king of fruits' -- a well-known summer fruit that finds a number of uses in the Indian cuisine. Both raw and ripe mangoes are used to prepare dozens of dishes including mains, sides and especially accompaniments like chutneys and pickles. Mango drinks are especially popular in tropical countries, for their amazing taste and flavour and their ability to quench thirst like nothing else. Mangoes also have a number of health benefits; from supplying the body with healthy fibre to improving digestion, boosting immunity and keeping us hydrated. However, the mango tree has much more to give us than just its juicy and delicious fruit. For example, did you know that even mango leaves can provide with a lot of health benefits? The shiny, green leaves have a number of health benefits, due to which they have traditionally been used in home remedies in ancient medicinal practices. One such purported benefit of mango leaves is its ability to regulate blood sugar levels and manage diabetes.

Mango leaves generally have a reddish or purplish hue when they are young, but as they mature, they become dark green with a pale underside. These leaves have powerful antioxidant properties and are rich in flavonoids and phenol. They are consumed in both powder and decoction form. The latter is produced by boiling mango leaves in water. In South East Asia, the tender mango leaves are cooked as is and eaten. They also have anti-microbial properties and the young leaves have a number of medicinal benefits.

How To Use Mango Leaves To Manage Diabetes

Mango leaves have been used in Chinese medicine to control diabetes. An ancient Chinese remedy involves using mango leaf extracts to manage diabetes and asthma, through their abundance of nutrients. However, one particular scientific study in 2010 also provides credibility to the ability of mango leaves to manage diabetes. The study showed that mice who were given mango leaf extracts, absorbed less glucose than those who weren't. This is because mango leaf extracts have been known to increase insulin production in the body and also fight cholesterol in blood, due to the presence of vitamin C, pectin and fibre in the leaves. Moreover, mango leaves have also been known to provide relief from diabetic symptoms like frequent urination, blurry visions, etc.

A diabetes home remedy involving mango leaves suggests that drinking the water that has been used to boil about 10 to 15 fresh mango leaves after letting it sit overnight, is effective to control and manage diabetes. However, there is limited scientific evidence about the effectiveness of this home remedy. It is advisable to consult a certified dietitian or a clinical nutritionist before making any changes or additions in your diabetes diet.

If the estimates by WHO are to be believed, 1.6 million deaths are directly attributed to diabetes each year globally. The WHO has also claimed that by the year 2030, diabetes would be the seventh largest killer globally. Diabetes is a chronic, metabolic disease characterised by elevated levels of blood glucose (or blood sugar), which, if left untreated may also pose serious damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves.Lack of awareness and late diagnosis often makes it difficult to manage diabetes. Diabetics need to be extra cautious of their diet. Sugary goods, drinks, trans-fats are a strict no-no for diabetics. An ideal diabetes diet should be a balanced mix of high-fibre foods, complex carbs and proteins. There are many healing herbs and spices that could help play a role in sustainable diabetes management too. For instance, fenugreek seeds are known to bring down elevated blood sugar levels. Neem is also one such herb that is fast gaining a name for itself in the realm of diabetes management.

Neem is a tropical plant that grows extensively across India. Neem trees are nearly 30-50 feet high, and almost every part of the tree is profuse with antiseptic and healing properties. Neem has been an integral part of Indian and Chinese medicine since time immemorial. Almost all parts of the neem tree- leaves, flowers, seeds, fruits, roots and bark have been used traditionally for a variety of treatments; be it inflammation, infections, fever, skin diseases or dental disorders. Some studies have claimed that certain compounds of Azadirachta indica (Neem) could be of benefit in diabetes mellitus in controlling the blood sugar. According to a study published in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, neem may also prove helpful in preventing or delaying the onset of the disease. In the journal Studies on Ethno-Medicine, neem leaf powder was found to control diabetic symptoms on non-insulin dependent male diabetics too.

Some more studies are required to validate the evidence that neem can lower blood sugar levels. But experts are mostly in favour of the wonder herb. If you have diabetes, you can have neem sharbat daily, or just chew into a handful of neem leaves. Make sure you do not overdo it and do consult your diabetologist before including neem in your diet. Overeating neem leaves may have hypoglycaemic effect.

Neem leaves are loaded with flavonoids, triterpenoid, anti-viral compounds and glycosides, which may help manage blood sugar levels and ensure there is no surge in glucose.

How To Make Neem Water For Diabetes:

Diabetics are often recommended bitter foods to regulate their blood sugar levels. According to experts, neem juice has a few active substances with anti-diabetic properties.

1. Boil about 20 neem leaves in half a litre of water for about 5 minutes.

2. You would see that the leaves have begun to appear soft. The water will gradually turn deep green in colour.

3. Strain and store this water in a container. Drink this decoction at least twice a day.

Dr. Shikha Sharma, Wellness Expert and Founder of NutriHealth, also suggests a healthy mix to manage high blood sugar levels. According to her, "One can make a healthy concoction of neem powder, fenugreek powder, jamun seed powder, and karela powder, all in equal proportions. Consume about 1 teaspoon of this mix, half an hour before lunch and dinner along with water."

Diabetes management is no cakewalk, but wise and healthy choices could ensure that you do not have a hard time with your blood glucose levels. We would like to reiterate again that none of the above information should be seen as a substitute to your ongoing medication. Before making any major alteration in your diet, do consult an expert.

Diabetes is something which has become so common over the past few decades and this is said to be a cause of worry as most people don't understand how to prevent and manage it. This has led to some myths, gaining more than their fair share of popularity. So, wouldn’t it be a good idea to get to know a little more so as to separate the myths from the facts?

Weight & watch: One of the most common myths when it comes to diabetes is the belief that a person is going to have his or her life adversely affected if he or she is overweight. While it is true that being overweight happens to be one of the risk factors related to diabetes, it is important to keep in mind the fact that there are other risk factors which are responsible, as well. Some of these factors are age and family history, as well as the ethnicity of the person. Taking this into account, it should not come as too much of a surprise to know that there are quite a few people who are not overweight, but are still fighting diabetes.

Packaged tricks: Considering the rise in the number of people who are suffering from diabetes, this has led to food being marketed specifically for their consumption. However, in reality, whatever represents a healthy diet is sufficient for a person who is diabetic. So a diet which does not have a high amount of saturated fats and trans fats and does not go overboard with starch and sugar, but features a fair amount of lean protein works well too. All the fancy diabetic food, which a person buys, is only likely to drive a great hole in the wallet and not have any additional health benefits. Therefore, the extra spending is nowhere close to being worthwhile and should be avoided.

Fruits punch: Many people are of the opinion that it is the processed and sugary food items, which cause diabetes and this is true to a significant extent. However, some people are of the view that since fruit is natural, diabetics can eat as much of it as they like. This is where the thinking gets dangerous. Some fruits are rich in carbohydrates and so it should be consumed in a reasonable quantity, as part of the daily meal plan. After all, too much of any good thing is bad!

Diabetes is a known and common medical condition in which glucose or sugar levels gradually build up in a person's bloodstream. In such conditions, enough insulin is not present for moving sugar inside your cells. When such a situation arises, sugar is utilized for obtaining energy. Due to this, your body will tend to rely on alternative sources of energy in the muscles, tissues, and organs. This process continues resulting in a chronic disorder.

Symptoms of chronic or Type 2 diabetes
Warning signs of type 2 diabetes usually develop very slowly. You might have it for years without even knowing about it. Due to excessive sugar building within your bloodstream, fluid tends to come out from tissues. In turn, your thirst might increase and lead to frequent and excess urination because of additional water consumption. If you have chronic diabetes and is unaware of it, then gradually fluid might be pulled out from eyes' lenses and lead to blurred vision along with an inability to focus properly.

Some patients with type 2 diabetes also get affected by frequent kidney, skin, bladder infections. Due to high blood sugar level, such infections might take a long time to heal completely. If you possess dark patches and velvety skin especially in the folds of neck and armpits or any other body parts, then it will be a wise decision to consult your physician immediately as it is another warning sign of chronic diabetes.

Besides increasing thirst, another basic and contradictory symptom of type 2 diabetes is increased hunger along with weight loss. Despite consuming more food than usual to cope up with the increased hunger, an individual having high blood sugar may lose weight. You might also feel irritated or tired if the cells of your body are deprived of sugar. Various other symptoms including foot pain, yeast infections, itchy skin, numb feeling, etc. are also present and the signs become severe and more dangerous with the progress of the disease.

What is the perfect time to visit a doctor?
If you notice any of the above mentioned symptoms of chronic diabetes, then that is the best or perfect time to see a physician. It is not mandatory that you will definitely have this health disorder if you observe any symptom within yourself. If you have excessive work pressure for a couple of days, then for sure you will feel exhausted. But, that does not mean your fatigue is the warning sign of diabetes. For being, sure enough, it is best to consult a trained medical practitioner.

Without proper treatment, diabetes can also become threatening to life. This chronic health disorder might result in complications related to heart, and during pregnancy, it can prove deadly.Maintaining a healthy eating habit, controlling weight, performing a daily physical exercise and consuming recommended medications will help in controlling high blood sugar level.

While jamun has always been on the top in fighting diabetes, its seeds are believed to be no less. Jamun is an evergreen tropical tree in the flowering plant family, Myrtaceae, that is native to India, Bangladesh and Indonesia. Jamun seeds are known to be used in various alternative healing systems like Ayurveda, Unani and Chinese medicine, especially for digestive ailments. Moreover, they are known to combat diabetes and health experts suggest consuming them as a part of managing the condition. So, what makes jamun seeds so special for diabetics? How to use jamun seeds for managing diabetes?

We have all the answers!According to Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Health Practitioner, Shilpa Arora, "jamun seeds are known to be great healing medication for diabetics. Both seeds and the fruit have substances called jamboline and jambosine that slow down the release of sugar into the blood. Jamun seeds also increase the availability of insulin. It is best to snack on jamun for effective results. You can let the seeds dry and make a powder that can be consumed regularly before meals to fight diabetes very effectively."

According to a study published in Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, jamun seeds reduce the blood glucose level significantly and also regulate the insulin levels in hyperglycaemic rats. The conclusion said that jamun seeds have potent prophylactic role against hyperglycaemia. In this respect, diet-based regimen may be tailored using jamun seeds.

Jamun Seeds For Diabetics: What Does Ayurveda Suggest?

According to Ayurveda Expert at Nirog Street, Ram N Kumar, "Jamun seeds make up a major of Ayurvedic diabetes medicines. Jambu is Sanskrit name of Jamun and it has special mention in various classical texts of Ayurveda. India's other name is Jambudweep or nation with so many trees of Jambu (Jamun) or Indian Blackberry. As per Ayurveda Jamun is astringent, anti-diuretic, which helps reduce frequent urination, has hypoglycaemic properties, which is the ability to reduce sugar in blood and has antioxidants that make them amazing for diabetics. Jamun seeds and pulp both have these properties."

Here's How You Can Use Jamun Seeds For Managing Diabetes:

Clean jamuns and keep them in a container.
Squeeze out the seeds from the flesh part with your fingers and store them in another container.
Wash the seeds thoroughly so that none of the flesh is left on them.

Now, spread the seeds on a clean cloth and keep it under sun for drying. Please note that it takes about three to four days for them to dry out.

Once they are dried, peel off the outer shell and collect the green inner core of the seeds.

The green inner core of the seeds can be broken into half easily just by pressing your fingers. Once you break them down, keep them in the sun for a few more days till they are dried.

Now, powder the dried seeds in a grinder. You will notice coarse powder.

Sieve the crushed seeds and repeat the same method till most of the dried seed powder passes through the sieve.

Store the jamun seed powder in an air-tight container and use it as and when you'd want to.

Take a glassful of water and a teaspoon of jamun seed powder every morning on an empty stomach.

Dr. Sheetal Jadhav
Dr. Sheetal Jadhav
BAMS, Ayurveda Family Physician, Pune
Dr. Vishwas Takale
Dr. Vishwas Takale
BAMS, General Physician, 19 yrs, Pune
Dr. Urmila Kauthale
Dr. Urmila Kauthale
BAMS, Ayurveda, 7 yrs, Pune
Dr. Anjanikumar Malempati
Dr. Anjanikumar Malempati
MBBS, ENT Specialist, 10 yrs, Pune
Dr. Vishnu Nandedkar
Dr. Vishnu Nandedkar
MBBS, Joint Replacement Surgeon Orthopaedics, 9 yrs, Pune