What traditional Indian medicine teaches about healthy eating in diabetes

08/02/2022

4 minutes read


Source/Disclosures


Source: Healio Interviews


Disclosure: Kharod does not report any relevant financial disclosures. Weiner reports that he is a consultant to Insulet.

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Suzanne Weiner

Parul Kharod

Susan Weiner, MS, RDN, CDCES, FADCES, talks to parul kharod, MS, RD, LDN, about the ancient medical knowledge system Ayurveda and what it can reveal about living with diabetes.

Wiener sausages: What is Ayurveda and how does it affect Indian cuisine??

Ayurveda can improve the diet of people with diabetes
The ancient medical knowledge system Ayurveda teaches that all disease begins in the gut and that food is medicine and traditional foods prepared according to Ayurvedic principles tend to be healthy.

Kharod: Ayurveda is a medical system that is over 5,000 years old. ayur means “life” and veda means “knowledge”. Ayurveda is the knowledge of how to lead a healthy and happy life. According to Ayurveda, health is not the absence of disease. Ayurveda focuses on maintaining a healthy body and preventing disease. The principles of Ayurveda focus on the unique constitution of each person and aim to balance the body, mind and spirit through a personalized approach.

The main tenet of Ayurveda is that all disease begins in the gut – and it is likely that Hippocrates learned this from Ayurveda. According to Ayurveda, all diseases arise from functional disorders agnithe digestive fire, which aids in the metabolism and digestion of food, maintains the natural gut flora by killing foreign bacteria and toxins, and supports the growth of healthy bacteria.

Ayurveda categorizes three doshas as substances that flow or circulate in the body and cause disease through excess or deficiency. The doshas show the properties of the elements that make them up. All diseases are caused by imbalance of doshas, ​​and imbalance is caused by improper diet and unhealthy lifestyle.

The food itself is the medicine. Our physical makeup is a combination of five essential elements that exist in the universe: ether, air, fire, water and earth. According to Ayurveda, these five elements create six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. We need each of these six flavors in our daily diet. Indian cuisine is richly spiced with these six flavors to aid in optimal digestion.

Ayurveda also categorizes foods as warming or cooling for the body. There are norms about food combinations and what foods should or should not be eaten at the same meal. Nutritional goals change with the seasons and life cycle. The aim is to restore the balance of natural energies; digest food well; building strong cells and tissues, including our immune cells; with regular and complete elimination; keep sharp senses; achieve peace of mind; and keep clear thinking.

Wone: What are your top culinary tips for people living with diabetes when eating traditional Indian food?

Kharod: Traditional foods prepared according to Ayurvedic principles tend to be healthy and easy to digest. However, not everyone eats like this. Indian food can also be unhealthy, especially if it’s made with too much oil and cream. When meals are not properly balanced, they can be rich in simple starches.

I use the plate method to talk about portion control. My first tip is to increase the quantity and variety of non-starchy vegetables. Second, swap out plain starches and flour for intact whole grains. I recommend using plant-based proteins like legumes, nuts, and seeds. Another tip is to reduce salt, sugar and fat in your diet.

Wiener sausages: What should you consider when eating a plant-based diet?

Kharod: There is a big misconception that vegetarians only eat vegetables. People trying to eat a plant-based diet can either get insufficient calories and nutrients from only eating salads, or they can get excess calories from eating veggie burgers and fake chicken nuggets. A plant-based diet should always revolve around plants. Eat real foods that grow as plants – whole grains, beans and lentils, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables. Limit packaged processed foods, especially imitation meats. It’s important to eat balanced meals that are colorful and rich in nutrients.

Wiener sausages: How can a person with diabetes reduce carbohydrate intake while eating traditional Indian food?

Kharod: Eating for diabetes isn’t just about reducing carbs, it’s also about reducing sugar and simple starches. Research shows that a high-fat diet can also have a negative effect on insulin resistance. Meal timing, meal spacing, and plate balance are also important. It’s important to focus on fiber and not just carbohydrates. Foods high in healthy carbohydrates and fiber include all intact whole grains, beans, peas, and lentils. Traditional recipes using flour can be modified to use intact whole grains. I share recipes and information on how traditional foods can be modified to be lower in carbs and higher in fiber.

Wiener sausages: What are some tips for incorporating spices into dishes?

Kharod: Spices are mistakenly confused with the term “spicy” meaning spicy. That is not true. Only peppers are hot. Most other spices have a unique flavor. Indian food cannot be cooked without spices. In fact, all foods should be cooked with spices and herbs, as these are not just for flavor. All spices have healing, anti-inflammatory properties and consist of an impressive list of phytonutrients, essential oils, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins essential to good health.

Familiarize yourself with different spices and start using them. Add cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg to oatmeal and even coffee. Add turmeric and ginger to soups and stir-fries. Use cumin-flavored black beans in your tacos. As you start using them, you will feel more comfortable experimenting. In the meantime, rely on recipes.

Wiener sausages: Where can people with diabetes Learn more about Indian cuisine?

Kharod: Physicians should refer their patients to a registered dietitian specializing in Indian cuisine and/or plant-based diets, who can take into account the individual’s general health and prescribe a customized diet plan. Information on consumer websites may not be accurate or provide recommendations for people with diabetes without accounting for co-morbid heart disease or kidney disease.

For more informations:

Parul Kharod, MS, RD, LDN, is a Registered Dietitian and Licensed Nutritionist practicing in Raleigh/Cary, North Carolina. She can be reached at [email protected]

Susan Weiner, MS, RDN, CDN, CDCES, FADCES, is co-author of The complete diabetes organizer and Diabetes: 365 tips for a good life. She is the owner of Susan Weiner Nutrition PLLC and is the endocrine today Diabetes in real life column editor. She can be reached at [email protected]; Twitter: @susangweiner.

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