You are on page 1of 10

Diabetologist, Dr.

Sanjiv Bhambani with Moolchand Medcity suggests, "A

diabetes diet should be high on fibre, must contain milk without cream,
buttermilk, fresh seasonal fruits, green vegetables, etc." But remember to
consume these components in moderation.

Diabetes diet for Indians should have the ratio of 60:20:20 for carbs, fats and
proteins. The doctor explains, "Per day calorie intake should be between
1,500-1,800 calories with a proportion of 60:20:20 between carbohydrates,
fats and proteins, respectively." He adds that a diabetes diet should "have at
least two seasonal fruits and three vegetables in a diet plan."

Though dry fruits may seem like a healthy snack, it is not a good option for
diabetics, as the fructose can spike your sugar level. Go for fresh fruits rather
than dry fruits for diabetes control (but there are some restrictions... we'll
come to it). But you can still opt for nuts as a healthy snack.

The doctor shares his recipe for diabetes diet for Indians:

- One teaspoon of methi seeds soaked overnight in 100 ml of water is very

effective in controlling diabetes.
- Drink tomato juice with salt and pepper every morning on an empty
- Intake of 6 almonds (soaked overnight) is also helpful in keeping a check on

Rekha Sharma, President and Director of Indian Dietetic Association, shares

some major diabetes diet pointers that one should follow at home or at a

Whole grains, oats, channa atta, millets and other high fibre foods should be
included in the meals. If one feels like consuming pasta or noodles, it should
always be accompanied with vegetable/sprouts.

Milk is the right combination of carbohydrates and proteins and helps control
blood sugar levels. Two servings of milk in a daily diet is a good option.
Diabetes Control: Diabetic Diet Tips

High fibre vegetables such as peas, beans, broccoli and spinach /leafy
vegetables should be included in one's diet. Also, pulses with husk and
sprouts are a healthy option and should be part of the diet.

Pulses are important in the diet as their effect on blood glucose is less than
that of most other carbohydrate containing foods. Vegetables rich in fibre
help lowering down the blood sugar levels and thus are healthy.
Good fats such as Omega-3 and monounsaturated fats (MUFA) should be
consumed as they are good for the body. Natural sources for these are
canola oil, flax seed oil, fatty fish and nuts. These are also low in cholesterol
and are trans fat free.

Fruits high in fibre such as papaya, apple, orange, pear and guava should be
consumed. Mangoes, bananas, and grapes contain high sugar; therefore
these fruits should be consumed lesser than the others.

Small frequent meals:

A large meal gives rise to higher blood sugar in one's body, therefore it is
essential to take small frequent meals to prevent both higher and very low
blood sugar values and keep them constant. Small in between snacks can be
dhokla, fruit, high fibre cookies, butter milk, yogurt, upma/poha with
vegetables etc.

A person with diabetes should follow a diet which is low in carbohydrates,

high in fibre and contains adequate amounts of proteins, vitamins and
minerals; and avoid fatty foods and sweets. He/she should also take
frequent small meals (5 meals pattern).

What not to do:

Artificial sweeteners can be used in cakes and sweets for diabetic people (in
Have lots of fluid.

Limit intake of alcohol.

Should you have non-veg?

In non-vegetarian diet, seafood and chicken can be taken rather than red
meat as red meat contains higher amount of saturated fats. Also, patients
with high cholesterol should avoid egg yolk and red meat.

The diabetes diet for Indians includes carbohydrates, proteins and fats. As
always, a balanced and planned diet can build and improve personal health.
A controlled diabetes diet may seem like a drag and bore, but a good cook
can add life to a diet. Time to call up mom and experiment with diabetes
Follow these simple pranayams and asanas to control blood glucose levels

Study after study at top Western universities confirm and reiterate what our
ancient science has been preaching all along -that positive health effects
of yoga are bountiful.

For one, yoga stimulates the organs which in turn improves metabolic
activities. This means that the chemical transformations within a cell are
carried out more efficiently. This makes it a highly beneficial exercise for those
suffering from diabetes -a complex condition which occurs due to lack of
insulin production by the pancreas or lack of cell response to insulin, resulting
in a multitude of metabolic imbalances involving the regulation and utilisation
of insulin and glucose (sugar) in the body.

In fact, a study published in the journal, Evidence-Based Complementary and

Alternative Medicine, last year analysed available research looking at yoga's
influence on diabetes and complications of diabetes (for instance, kidney
problems and high blood pressure) and found that regular yoga practise led to
shortterm improvements in fasting glucose and cholesterol levels. The
research, conducted by Marshall Govindan and Dr Emilia RipollBunn, also
found that the direct stim ulation of the pancreas by certain postures
rejuvenated its capacity to produce insulin.

Yoga practitioner Sabir Shaikh adds, A few asanas help balance the
functioning of the endocrine system.It massages and tones the abdominal
organs like pancreas and liver, stimulate the nervous and circulatory system
which in turn helps in controlling diabetes."

Diabetologist Dr Pradeep Gadge concurs. Besides medication", he says,

Yogic asanas help in harmonising the body, breath and mind, thereby
contributing to the overall health of the individual. Asanas help in optimal
secretions of the endocranial glands which helps insulin in the body to be
used more effectively."

Studies have also confirmed that practising certain asanas such as Ardha
Matsyendrasana (half-twist pose) combined with Dhanurasana (bow pose),
Vakrasana (twisted pose), Matsyendrasana (half-spinal twist), Halasana
(plough pose) squeezes and compresses the abdomen and helps stimulate
the pancreatic secretions or hormonal secretions. As a result, more insulin is
pushed into the system. This rejuvenates the insulin producing beta cells in
the pancreas of diabetics suffering from both type 1 and 2. Practising the
postures in a relaxed manner, without exertion, meditation and breathing
techniques help most patients control the triggers or causes of diabetes.

Asanas over high-intensity workout

A study, by S A Ramaiah in Washington, compared the effects of exercise

such as walking, jogging on a treadmill, static cycling with asanas such as
Upavishta Bakasana (sitting crane), Bakasana (standing crane) and
Dhanurasana. It was found that these asanas were the most effective as they
helped stimulate the hormonal secretion of the pancreas and rejuvenate its
capacity to produce insulin. They also strengthened the back muscles which
enhance toning of abdominal viscera (muscles and internal organs).The
balancing in Bakasana improves interaction between the pituitary gland and

Breath of life

Aside from asanas, breathing exercises especially anulom vilom (alternate

nostril breathing) and kapalbatti (one-time inhale; exhale 30 to 50 times
quickly) is extremely beneficial.Anulom vilom is found useful in diabetes as
alternate nostril breathing has calming effects on the nervous system,
facilitating homeostasis (internal equilibrium in the function of all the systems).
This manages the stress levels, helping in diabetes treatment.

Kapalbhatti, on the other hand, stimulates the pancreas to release insulin,

thus helping control diabetes. Pranayam makes the mind calm, thus balancing
the interaction between the pituitary gland and the pancreas. Kapalabhati
combined with Nauli Kriya (pressure manipulations and isolation of
abdominal-recti muscles) help control blood sugar. These practices balance
the Basic Metabolic Rate (BMR) which in turn helps stabilise sugar levels.

Once you are through with the practice, relax in shavasana (lying flat on the
ground) to cool off," advises Shaikh. A yogic diet that is high in fibre, whole
grains, legumes and vegetables complements the regimen. It is
recommended to lose excess weight and stabilise blood sugar levels."

Bear in mind

Throughout the programme, monitor glucose levels under the supervision of a

physician, and take appropriate medication as prescribed.
-Practise yoga in the morning and evening for 40 to 60 minutes with the
recommended series of postures according to one's capacity.
-The maintenance period of postures should be increased gradually from five
seconds to a minute, or even longer, depending on the posture and capacity
of the person.
-Always focus on breathing during the maintenance period of the posture.

Tried and tested

When 38-year-old Manish Chaturvedi was diagnosed with case of borderline

diabetes (medically termed as pre-diabetes), a condition characterised by the
presence of blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not high
enough to be classified as diabetes, he was advised by his doctor to take up

If undiagnosed or untreated, pre-diabetes can develop into type 2 diabetes.

Chaturvedi, a healthcare professional was also asked to change his sedentary
lifestyle. My mother is diabetic. When she introduced yoga in her routine, it
helped control her sugar levels," he says.

Chaturvedi began with yoga and pranayam Chaturvedi began with yoga and
pranaya after his sugar hit a high. I practised pranayam, which included
anulom vilom, kapalbatti, mandukasan and ardha chakrasana (in pic) for 30
minutes every day."

After three months of regular practise, Chaturvedi found that his practise,
Chaturvedi found that his sugar levels were returned to the normal margin.

Follow these four key yoga postures



Helps stimulate the hormonal secretion of the pancreas.


-Stand straight and keep your feet close to each other. Your knees, legs and
hand should be held straight.
-Now bring your right foot and keep it on your left thigh. Try to make a right
angle. If you are unable to keep your foot on the thigh, try to keep your foot on
the left leg wherever you feel comfortable and maintain balance. But
remember your right toe should point down wards. Your body balance should
depend on the left leg.
-Join your palms and bring them to the middle of your chest and keep the
figure pointing upwards. Slowly move your hands overhead. Raise your arms
over your head. Your arms should be slightly bent.
-Stand straight, look in front and try to be relaxed.
-Stay in this position for about 10 seconds. Breathe normally.
-Slowly bring your hands in the middle portion of the chest same as before,
bring your right leg to the ground and come back in the starting position.
-Repeat the same procedure with the other leg.
-Try to repeat the whole procedure two to three times.

Dhanurasana (Bow pose)


Improves the functioning of pancreas and intestines. Thus helps in controlling

blood sugar levels. Organs like liver, pancreas, and enzyme producing organs
will function actively by practicing this asana.


-Lie on your stomach with your feet hip width apart and your arms by the side
of your body.
-Fold your knees and hold your ankles.
-Breathing in, lift your chest off the ground and pull your legs up and back.
-Look straight ahead with a smile on your face. Curve your lips to match the
curve of your body.
-Keep the pose stable while paying attention to your breath. Your body is now
taut as a bow.
-Continue to take long deep breaths as you relax in this pose. But don't get
carried away. Do not overdo the stretch.
-After 15 -20 seconds, as you exhale, gently bring your legs and chest back to
the ground.
-Release the ankles and relax.

Halasana (Plough Pose)


It stimulates the pancreas, spleen and activates immune system by

massaging all the internal organs including pancreas. It improves kidney and
liver functioning and strengthens the abdominal muscles. It also rejuvenates
the mind.


-Lie on your back with your arms beside you, palms downwards.
-As you inhale, use your abdominal muscles to lift your feet off the floor,
raising your legs vertically at a 90-degree angle. Continue to breathe normally
and supporting your hips and back with your hands, lift them off the ground.
-Allow your legs to sweep in a 180-degree angle over your head till your toes
touch the floor.
-Your back should be perpendicular to the floor. This may be difficult initially,
but make an attempt for a few seconds.
-Hold this pose and let your body relax more and more with each steady
breath.5 After about a minute (a few seconds for beginners) of resting in this
pose, you may gently bring your legs down on exhalation. -Avoid jerking your
body, while bringing the legs down.

Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Twist Pose)


This asana massages the kidneys, pancreas, small intestines, gall bladder
and liver, helping to stimulate digestion and squeeze out toxins. Useful for
diabetics, with concentration on the pancreas.Increases the elasticity of
the spine, tones the spinalnerves.


-Sit on the carpet, stretch the legs straight.

-Fold the right leg. Keep the right leg's heel touching the left leg's knee.

-Take the right hand to back of the waist twisting your trunk, spread palms
inside and place it on the carpet.
-Bring the left hand close to right knee and hold the right leg's ankle or big toe
with the left hand.

-Twist the head and shoulder to right side and look straight to the right
shoulder's side (i.e back side).

Other than these four poses, Suryanamaskar or the sun salutation is proven
to be a highly effective exercise for those with diabetes as it is considered to
be a complete body exercise.Doing this for 15 minutes every morning can
make a huge difference in increasing metabolism rate of the body.