There is a correlation between diabetes and food. Some take foods which are high on glycaemic index or, in other words, are sugary. The body in response produces insulin, which helps control diabetes. So, food is the first line of treatment.
A lot of confusion about sugar free prevails in diabetes management.
Any food item which has no white sugar added to it is healthier than sweetened items.
Avoid food items such as biscuits made of arrowroot, refined flour or corn flour. They are not healthy for diabetes patients, because they have a high glycaemic and are likely to increase the blood sugar and may also cause inflammation to the body.
A sugar-free alternative means chemical sugar – sucralose – which is an artificial sweetener. Chemical-based sugars like sucralose should not be taken because chemicals in them have long-term side effects.
Natural plant-based sugar is better than artificial sugars. A diabetic should rather take plant-based sugar once in a while or may be on weekends or on festive occasions.
A lot of people take food products which even though do not have added sugar are unhealthy because they have other trans fats. So, products recommended for diabetics which have no added sugary chemical but carry preservatives, artificial flavour and colours impact the diabetic health as the liver is unable to process those chemicals. In diabetics, the liver is likely to weaken. Therefore, it is important to not tax the liver with all these chemicals.
Jaggery or other kinds of sweeteners are marginally healthier than white refined sugar. But they too should not be taken in large quantity. It is better to have fruits than these refined products from different sources as they affect the insulin and blood sugar adversely.
Diabetics should avoid sugar or sugar-based products, processed food items, refined food items, juices, packed foods, rice flour, refined maida, white flour and suji, among others, as these lead to increased blood sugar, imbalance in the insulin and inflammation of the body.
FOODS FOR DIABETIC
Diabetic should eat foods or grains which lead to less sugar in the body; for example, chana (grams), besan, or flours made of millets. Millets like ragi, jwar, bajra and Brazilian grain are low in glycaemic index and are great for diabetics. The point is to fundamentally shift from wheat and rice as their overconsumption may lead to not only diabetes but also to obesity and associated health problems.
Many diabetics have inflammation in their body and therefore need to have more inflammation-reducing vegetables, primarily leafy vegetables, like spinach, bathua and others. Green vegetables reduce blood sugar in the body. A daily bowl of salad, which includes tomato, cucumber or any other seasonal salads would be great for reducing blood sugar naturally.
Fenugreek seeds (maithi dana) are also effective in keeping blood sugar at bay. One can have it either in the form of sprouts empty stomach in the morning or a kadha or decoction. Just put fenugreek seeds in a bowl or in a pan, add a pinch of turmeric, cinnamon and saunf (fennel), if you wish, and boil together for a while. You can take it either warm or cool. This is excellent diabetes management antidote.
Sugar is something which is not required by the human body, yet there is huge consumption of sugar. One should prefer more natural sources of sugar like dates and raisins. If required, jaggery can also be used in controlled amounts. These alternative sources of sugar do not cause sudden weight gain and do not cause damage in terms of increasing inflammation. Honey is also good source, but it cannot be taken in large quantity.
HOW TO MAINTAIN BLOOD SUGAR?
Some of the herbs which can help reduce blood sugar, for example, are fenugreek seeds, cinnamon, gurmar (an ayurvedic herb known to reduce blood sugar), karela or bitter gourd (or its powder), jamun (black berry) seed powder, amla (Emblica officinalis) and triphala. These are excellent for diabetes control.
PERFECT FOOD TIMING FOR DIABETICS
An ideal food timing for diabetics is 7:30 in the morning and 7:30 in the evening. Eating food before or after may cause indigestion.
Diabetics should eat before 7:30 p.m., because body is settling down and if you pile on a lot of food when body should be allowed to recover and rejuvenate, it is going to interfere with the natural process, which means accelerating ageing and breakdown of tissues. So, it is very important, if you want to actually recover from stress, to eat very light in the evenings and your diet should have more of vegetable soups and leafy vegetables. Avoid heavy meals late at night.
We should not go hungry between 7:30 in the morning and 1:00 in the afternoon, because this is the time the metabolic fire is burning at the highest. If the stomach is empty or devoid of any food, it starts going into detoxification phase, as a result of which metabolism is disrupted.
Now, in terms of what kind of food should be eaten at what time, it is very important that one should not eat foods which increase body weight and body water. Cough foods such as banana, rice and fried foods should not be eaten late evening, because they increase cough and body weight, and flame in the lungs. They should be eaten more in the morning or afternoon. Foods which are dry and light should be eaten at night.
HOW MUCH FOOD SHOULD A DIABETIC EAT?
One should eat approximately two-thirds of the capacity, which means one-third of the stomach should be left empty for it to digest the food.
How do you know how much your stomach is expanding? The best way is to avoid refined foods, because the stomach has censors which automatically shut off when the stomach stretches to a certain level.
These censors do not work properly because we have taken fibre out of our diet. Fibres are what trigger the censors to give the information that it is time to stop eating. If you remove the fibre from food, those censors will not work. Therefore, the thumb rule is that if you are eating natural foods which have fibre like dalia, fruits with skins or rajma and chana with natural skin, you do not have to worry much. But when you are eating refined food like puri or bread, eat only 50% of the hunger, because the refine food is already heavy, with no fibre content in it, and it can upset your insulin.
Dr Shikha Sharma is a renowned Indian nutritionist.
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PREVENTION: HOW TO KEEP YOUR HEART HEALTHY AT AGE 40
An individual becomes more concerned about their health as they reach a certain age. As the most vital organ of the body, the heart requires extreme care as its chances of developing cardiac diseases increase with age.
Among older people, heart disease is the leading cause of morbidity. To reduce the risk of CVD in middle age, it is recommended to maintain or increase physical activity. Dr AnbuPandian, Medical Advisor, Agatsa, shared some tips to keep the heart healthy at 40 with us.
The most effective way to prevent heart disease at 40 is to adopt a healthy lifestyle. If you work nine hours in an office job, take short breaks every two hours. Taking the stairs instead of the lift, walking short distances instead of using a vehicle or public transportation. Exercise, meditate, swim, play basketball, dance, and do yoga—whatever you love.
Physical exercise has been shown to have a positive effect on heart health in comparison to sedentary lifestyles in various studies. A great quality of life is dependent on a healthy heart. Maintaining a regular exercise routine will keep the heart healthy for years to come.
Regular Heart Health Check-ups
A heart health check-up is essential at every stage of life, but becomes especially crucial after age 40. There are several factors that determine how often a person should get a check-up, including smoking, alcohol consumption, heart disease in the family, being overweight, and diabetes. Blood sugar and cholesterol levels should also be monitored closely. Heart diseases can be better treated if they are detected early. Once a person crosses the age of 40, a yearly checkup is mandatory. The physician may recommend more frequent check-ups if heart disease is detected.
As age increases, metabolism tends to decrease by 5 % every decade after 40. Hormonal imbalance and bone density are two other significant changes that the body registers while getting old. Increase the intake of fruits rich in Vitamin C. All citrus fruits, for that matter, have a bonus heart-healthy benefit. The best diet for preventing cardiac disease is one that is full of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fish, poultry, and vegetable oils. Individuals who follow their dietary pattern have a 31% lower risk of heart disease than those who consume junk food.
Remote Monitoring Machines
Remote monitoring machines have been around for years but have gained significant prominence recently, thus resulting in high demand. Such devices are used on a daily basis to monitor diseases such as heart attacks, hypertension, and diabetes. These devices are very portable, user-friendly and capture patients’ health parameters via cables and sensors. These devices are cost-effective for patients because they reduce medical care costs and provide more timely intervention for chronic conditions. No one can slow down the ageing process. However, with proper care, one can be more fit, look younger, and lead a more energetic and active life. Life doesn’t end, but begins afresh again at 40!
The author is a Medical Advisor at Agatsa.
Why heart attacks are on the rise among women
Even though heart ailments are on the rise among women, a lack of awareness has prevented many from getting timely treatment and diagnosis of the disease.
Heart diseases are no longer a “men’s problem” and women too are equally prone to them. According to a recent report published by the National Family Health Survey, it was found that the overall prevalence of undiagnosed hypertension in women of the age group 15–49 years is 18.69% in India, which busts the myths that heat conditions are most prevalent among men.
Several other international studies have also indicated that heart ailments are now a leading cause of death among women, resulting in ten times more fatalities than breast cancer. Even though heart ailments are on the rise among women, a lack of awareness has prevented many from getting timely treatment and diagnosis of the disease.
Why are heart diseases going undetected in women? While ensuring the well-being of their loved ones, women in India tend to ignore their own needs and often neglect their health. For instance, if a woman has mild chest pain, she would rather ignore the symptoms and focus on managing the work/household chores rather than visiting a doctor. The patriarchal setup of our society also expects women to keep the well-being of others at the forefront rather than taking care of themselves, which results in late diagnosis and is one of the primary causes of increasing heart ailments among women in the country.
As the symptoms of a heart attack are different in both men and women, many women often don’t know if they have already suffered one or two heart attacks in the past until eventually, they visit a doctor. While in men, a heart attack usually results in extreme and sudden chest pain and breaking out in cold sweats, whereas in women, the symptoms are usually mild and heart attacks can be frequent and smaller. The symptoms in women can range from jaw pain to fatigue to pain in the neck and back to sweating or just heartburn, indicating the need for them to undergo regular health check-ups and take proactive measures to ensure overall well-being.
Which age group is most susceptible to heart attacks and what are the major concerns?
Women of the age group 45–55 years are at a high risk of experiencing a heart attack due to low levels of estrogen post menopause, work and family-related stress, loneliness, and lack of physical activity. More women in this age group may go undiagnosed and have atypical symptoms compared to men.
The second most affected age group is 60 years of age, where the biological deterioration makes both men and women more susceptible to heart attacks. High cholesterol, blood pressure, obesity, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, and diabetes are also some of the main concerns that make women more prone to cardiovascular diseases.
How can women take care of themselves and keep heart attacks at bay?
There are several steps that women can take to prevent heart ailments, such as:
- Educate yourself and increase awareness about the risk factors that can lead to blockages.
- Avoid smoking or the use of tobacco.
- Engage in physical activities like yoga, dancing, running, and walking for 30–45 minutes every day to maintain heart health and overcome obesity.
- Avoid junk food, aerated drinks and adopt a balanced diet. Healthy heart diets that include complex carbohydrates, legumes, fruits, vegetables, and less sugar, salt, and fat can have a positive impact on heart health.
Lastly, it is important to note that gender has nothing to do with heart attacks, and the condition affects both men and women equally. However, adopting a healthy lifestyle and undergoing regular health checkups can help you get the gift of good health.
The author is a Senior Consultant at Interventional
Cardiology, Aster CMI
HEALTHY LIFESTYLE: Role of nutraceuticals in heart health
The never-ending work of the heart and the constant workload necessitate healthy dietary patterns and lifestyles.
The growing evidence of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) in both developing and developed nations over the last 20 years has made CVDs a global healthcare priority. As per the WHO, heart attacks and strokes account for 85% of all CVD deaths. It is responsible for an estimated 31% of all deaths worldwide, with 17.9 million deaths yearly. More than 75% of all cardiovascular events occur in low- and middle-income countries. CVDs are the leading cause of death worldwide, with more people dying from them each year than from any other cause.
Role of diet in the maintenance of a healthy heart:
The never-ending work of the heart and the constant workload necessitate healthy dietary patterns and lifestyles. One of the most important factors that can be changed to promote heart health is diet. An unhealthy diet high in saturated fat and carbohydrates is linked to abnormal blood lipid levels, which increases the risk of heart disease.
Nutraceuticals in heart health:
Nutraceuticals refer to substances that are either food or a component of nutrition that help in the prevention, protection, and/or treatment of chronic diseases. Nutraceuticals can maintain health, slow the progression of lifelong or chronic diseases, and slow aging. Nutraceuticals are considered superior to chemical medicines due to their lack of side effects and ease of access.
• Omega-3 fatty acids: They possess a beneficial effect on the heart as it helps in reducing the risk and advancement of cardiovascular disease. Clinical studies have found that omega-3 fatty acids lower serum triglyceride levels, increase fatty acid degradation, and clear plasma triglycerides. They also help to lower systolic and diastolic pressure in hypertension patients. Foods which are rich in omega-3-fatty acids are flax seed, mackerel, salmon fish, cod fish, etc.
• Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): Clinical data revealed that a high dose of CoQ10 helps maintain a healthy heart by reducing lipoprotein oxidation and forming atherosclerotic lesions. Foods such as oily fish (salmon, tuna), grape seed, soyabean, avocado, broccoli, peanuts, and soybeans contain a high amount of CoQ10 in them.
• Carotenoids: Carotenoids such as lycopene can reduce the risk of atherosclerosis by prohibiting endothelial dysfunction and lowering LDL levels. Tomato, red cabbage, beet root, papaya, and watermelon are good sources of carotenoids.
• Polyphenols: Polyphenols present in fruits and vegetables improve lipid metabolism, reduce blood pressure and delay the progression of heart diseases. Almonds, cherries, berries, black olives, cloves contain a high concentration of polyphenols.
• Use of micronutrients: Supplementation with micronutrients such as zinc, selenium, magnesium, selenium, vitamin C, and vitamin E exerts a protective effect on the heart by reducing endothelial cell damage, production of nitric oxide, and inhibiting LDL-c oxidation.
Due to the modern lifestyle, it is imperative to maintain a healthy heart. Regular consumption of nutraceuticals will help to prevent cardiovascular diseases and help to follow a healthy lifestyle.
The author is MD, Clinical Pharmacologist and
Nutra-ceutical Physician, Founder and CEO IntelliMed Healthcare Suctions.
Kashmiri ASHA worker serves as inspiration by donating blood 28 times
A 32-year-old woman named Bilqees Ara, an ASHA worker, has donated blood 28 times since 2012. She has served as an inspiration to others across the nation.
Bilqees, who is from the Handwara Tehsil in the Kupwara area of North Kashmir, stated that she understands the “importance of blood”.
She said that by donating a pint of blood, she not only saves a precious life but an entire family.
She began donating blood in 2012 and has since given 28 pints.
She expressed her gratitude and pride at being the saviour of so many patients in the Kashmir valley.
I’ve seen people cry helplessly as they try to get blood to save their loved ones, but I’m proud of myself because I’ve arranged blood for them as well. “I felt an inner joy after that,” she said.
In Kashmir, she is known as the “Blood Woman of Kashmir”.
She is a registered blood donor. Whenever a need arises, the officials at the Blood Bank at Handwara hospital call her and, within the shortest span of time, she makes herself available to donate blood.
Women should come forward and do this as there is nothing to be afraid of. This is to be done for society, she said. She also said that she wondered who else would do it if she refused.
If a person has blood and courage, why can’t he give it to someone else in a time of need? She asked.
Covid facilities to reduce in Delhi amid drop in cases
The Delhi government has closed 11 Covid care facilities because to a consistent reduction in cases. Two Covid Care Centers are operational at Ambedkar Nagar Hospital, which has 50 beds, and Balak Ram Hospital, which has 25 beds, according to a government report. Only five admissions were registered at Ambedkar Nagar Hospital over the past three months, while there were none at Balak Ram Hospital.
The number of patients has steadily decreased at the remaining CCCs as well, according to reports.
According to officials, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority on Thursday decided to scale back the medical staff and infrastructure that had been deployed for COVID management in a planned manner. The health department will now formulate an action plan in response to this decision.
“The deven CCCs were closed and dismantled by Delhi government and one by the Centre and three others with total 4000 bed capacity- Radha Saomi Satsang ,Chattarpur, Sawan Kirpal, Burari , and Sant Nirankari, Burari- were closed but not yet dismantled”, officials said.
We Women Want: Focus on menstrual health
This week on We Women Want, we talk about menstrual health and awareness with Madan Mohit Bharadwaj, founder of She Wings, an organisation that works to end period poverty by working with rural women, teens, the homeless, and low-income people. We also had She Wings employees Savita and Mamta, as well as Gurvani, Chief Communication Officer, and Shubhendra Rajawat, Chief Planning Officer of She Wings, to tell us stories from the ground.
A former journalist, Madan founded She Wings once he realised the lack of awareness and also the lack of basics such as sanitary pads amongst low-income women. The foundation is doing a lot of good work in that they not only distribute pads amongst the poor but also educate women on the basics of menstrual hygiene. She Wings volunteers and workers also spend time with the men folk trying to deal with the biases and social taboos against menstruation.
As Madan said, it is a natural cleansing process and not something to be shunned and ostracised. He also recalled how a woman died due to a septic infection from a rusted hook while she was using an old blouse as a sanitary pad. That is when he realised the dire emergency of the situation for something as basic as menstrual hygiene and sanitary pads.
Both the audience in the studio and the entire team at We Women Want were very appreciative of the work that the She Wings team is doing, and indeed, it is efforts such as these that should be applauded and celebrated on the show. The show was moderated by NewsX Senior Executive Editor, Priya Sahgal, and will be on air this weekend on the channel.
Catch fresh episodes of “We Women Want” every Saturday at 7:30 PM on NewsX. The programme will also be streamed live on major OTT platforms-Dailyhunt, Zee5, MX Player, ShemarooMe, Watcho, Mzaalo, Jio TV, Tata Play, and PayTm livestreams.
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