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Diabetes treatment needs keeping a close watch over your blood glucose(sugar) levels and keeping it within the safe range, with a mix of exercise and a healthy diet. By taking note of both when you eat & what you eat, you will be able to lower or prevent the seesaw effect of quickly altering glucose levels.
Maintaining a healthy weight, having a healthy diet and practising physical activity everyday are crucial factors to control diabetes.
Founder of Nuvovivo, Mr Rajiv Ambat, gives an account of what they do for their clients. The video gives you an idea of how Nuvovivo helps manage lifestyle conditions such as Diabetes with a combination of a healthy diet, exercise and support.
As opposed to common perception, there is no specific diet for diabetes. You need to centre your diet on foods which are high in fibre and nutrition, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean proteins. Whereas you'll need to reduce the intake of refined carbohydrates, sweets, and saturated fats
This does not mean that you have to stop eating your favourite foods. Diabetes management has to be a lifelong activity and it is important to learn how to make that flexible, sustainable and an enjoyable lifestyle.
Indeed, this is a great eating plan for your whole family. Once in a while, having sugary foods are ok, provided that they are counted as a part of your meal plan.
Even so, knowing how much and what to eat can be hard. A well experienced dietician or nutrition expert can aid you with making a meal plan which suits your lifestyle, choices of food and health goals. This will probably include estimating carbohydrates, particularly when you are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
All of us require everyday exercises or physical activity viz - aerobic exercises, weight training, yoga etc, and more so for a diabetic person. Physical activity reduces your glucose level by transporting glucose into your cells, as it is utilised for energy. Physical activity also improves your insulin sensitivity, which implies your body requires less insulin to move glucose to your cells and is hence able to do it effectively.
Get your doctor's approval to start the exercise and prefer everything you enjoy, like biking, swimming or walking. What's more crucial is making exercise a part of your everyday routine.
However, it is also important to understand what kind of exercise suits your current physical condition. For example - it may not be a great idea for an overweight person, or a person who has an arthritic knee to start running or do jumping jacks. Similarly, someone with piles or fistula flares should not lift heavy weights! Physical exercises have to be modeled based on each person’s physical conditions.
Intent for a minimum of half an hour or more of exercises most days of a week or else a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise (in a moderate way) every week. Periods of exercise can be as short as ten minutes, three times every day. If you weren't active before, then begin at a slow pace and then build up in a gradual way. It's also a great idea to stop sitting for longer periods- rise and move if you are sitting for over half an hour.
Keeping your glucose levels within the safe range can be hard. This is because a lot of things make your glucose levels change, at times in a way that was not expected. Below are a few factors which can affect your glucose levels.
Eating healthier is the key to healthy living, even having or not having diabetes. Eating on time alone is not the definition of eating healthy; what is if you eat on time, but eat outside / junk food most of the time!? Yet, eating home cooked meals and on time is still not enough! What if you are over eating them!?
If you’re diabetic, it’s vital that you have an idea of how what you eat affects your glucose levels. It’s not merely the kind of food you have, but also how much you eat and with what food combinations you eat.
What you can do
Know carbohydrate counting and portion sizes: The key to most plans for diabetes management is knowing how to count carbohydrates. This nutrient usually has a significant impact on your levels of glucose. For those who are taking insulin before or after meals, it's crucial to learn about the amount of carbohydrates in what you eat, so that you get the right insulin dose. Understanding the carb content in the food is not a rocket science and can be easily mastered with some assistance.
Know what portion size is suitable for every food type. Make your meal planning simple through making a note of the foods you have often. For a precise carbohydrate count and to assure proper portion size,utilise measuring cups or scale.Have a well balanced meal: Make each meal well-balanced, with the right mix of vegetables, fruits, fats, proteins and starches. Take a note of the kind of carbohydrates you prefer. Certain carbohydrates, like vegetables, fruits and whole grains are great for you than the others. All of these are low in carbohydrates and contain fibre which aids to maintain a more stable glucose level. Discuss with your dietician regarding the perfect food preferences and the right balance of food types.
That said, you do not have to stay away from your favorite food, if you could plan them with a bit of scientific research. For example, you do not have to entirely stop eating rice, because you are diabetic. Even white rice can be had, if eaten along with adequate vegetables (fiber) and protein portion. We reiterate that your diabetes menu plan has to be sustainable, flexible and something that you can follow for the rest of your life!
Another vital part of your diabetes management plan is exercise. When you engage in physical activity, your muscles utilise glucose for energy. Everyday exercise also aids your body utilise insulin much effectively. These factors work together to reduce your glucose level. The more vigorous your exercise, the longer the effect persists. However, even light activities like gardening, housework etc. can improve your blood glucose to some extent.
What you can do
Generally, adults need to engage in moderate exercise activity for a minimum of 150 minutes per week. Intent for a moderate exercise activity for about half an hour every day on majority days of the week.
If you were inactive for a prolonged period, we may want to review your overall health prior to advising you. The doctor can suggest the right balance of muscle-strengthening and aerobic physical activity.
During exercise, keep glucose tablets or small snacks with you, if your glucose level falls too low.
Have plenty of water or other liquids while you perform the physical activity as dehydration can affect blood glucose levels.
Follow an Exercise schedule
Discuss with your doctor regarding the best time of the day to workout so that your exercise schedule is ordered with your meal schedule.
Home Treatment for Diabetes
Diabetes is a silent killer. Chronic and uncontrolled diabetes over a long period of time can impact organs in our body such as - kidney, hands & legs (tingling sensation) and even eyes! However, the good news is that cautious diabetes management can not only improve the lifestyle and reverse diabetes to reasonable extent, but it can also prevent the chances of organ failure and other complications.
Make a commitment to control Diabetes: Know everything you can as possible about Diabetes. Build a relationship with the diabetes educator and ask for help from your diabetes treatment team whenever you require it.
Opt for healthy foods and keep a healthy weight: If you're obese, shedding even 5% of your weight do make a difference in your glucose control if you're diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes. A wholesome diet includes a lot of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains and lean proteins, with less saturated fat. Make sure the calorie intake is in check and that you are not consuming excess calories. Roughly 150 -200 grams of carbohydrates is advisable if you are diabetic, however the exact amount will depend on many other factors including the current blood sugar levels, other medical conditions etc.
Make exercise a part of your everyday routine: Everyday physical activity can aid prevent type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes, and aid diabetics in keeping better glucose control. As mentioned earlier, a combination of both cardio exercises and weight training, along with yoga will help in keeping your blood sugar levels in check. While aerobic (cardio) exercise will ensure faster utilisation of glucose (muscle glycogen) by the muscles, weight training will improve the body’s ability to absorb glucose from blood - which essentially means an improved insulin sensitivity.
For Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
Type 1 Diabetes, also known as Insulin dependent diabetes is when your pancreas (beta cells) is unable to produce enough insulin - the hormone responsible to bring down the blood glucose levels. Type - 1 diabetes is often seen at a young age of 12 - 15 years and in such cases, insulin treatment is required.
Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand usually happens after 30+ years and is mostly due to lifestyle. A poor lifestyle, especially for those who are genetically predisposed to diabetes will mean an early onset of type 2 diabetes, where the pancreas (beta-cells) can still secrete the insulin hormone, but the body becomes resistant to insulin. As the insulin resistance of the body increases, insulin in our body will not be able to bring down the blood glucose levels.
Consider stress seriously! As a response to prolonged stress, your body produces certain hormones. These hormones inhibit the proper working of insulin. This in turn will increase your glucose level and stress you even more. Therefore, it's crucial to prioritise your responsibilities and set limits. Practise relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing etc. and sleep more.
Complications of Diabetes
Diabetes is a silent killer and can be very dangerous if not controlled or managed properly. High blood glucose levels if left uncontrolled can impact various organs in our body such as - kidney, hands, legs, eyes etc.
Kidney Damage (Diabetic Nephropathy)
Chronic and uncontrolled blood sugar levels over long periods of time will impact the kidney function. Kidney is a filtering organ that filters impurities from the blood and expels it into urine. High sugar levels in the blood will impact the delicate filters of the kidney called ‘glomeruli’. This leads to swelling in the legs (edema) and elevated creatinine levels and foaming of urine (micro albumin in urine) etc. If the kidney function is impaired, the protein intake needs to be managed carefully. A simpleton approach of a low carb-high protein diet towards controlling blood sugar can be detrimental incase of diabetic nephropathy. In case of chronic damage to kidney, Dialysis may be required frequently.
Nerve Damage (Diabetic Neuropathy)
This often starts with numbness in the feet or hands or tingling sensation. Uncontrolled blood sugar levels have a debilitating impact on the nerves. As the nerves get damaged, one loses sensation in that area. This is mostly seen in feet and legs and starts with numbness or tingling.
Eye Damage (Diabetic Retinopathy)
High blood sugar levels impact the light sensitive areas of the eyes and also the nerves. What starts with a mild vision impairment can eventually lead to complete blindness if not taken care of.
Silent Heart Attack (Silent MI)
A silent heart attack is more common among the diabetic population. Silent heart attack is the one that does not show the usual symptoms of heart attack such as chest pain. The person undergoing silent heart attack is often unaware about it as it happens and hence this is very detrimental. The chest pain and other symptoms are not felt by a chronic diabetic person as the nerves are damaged.
High blood pressure or hypertension often co-occurs with diabetes and various research studies point to a correlation between these two. As elevated blood glucose levels impact the nerves and kidney, it eventually leads to high BP. Kidney plays a very important role in maintaining the homeostasis of blood parameters including sodium levels. A damaged kidney often leads to high blood pressure.
Keeping your Total Cholesterol in check is extremely important in case you are diabetic. There are increased chances of cardiovascular diseases, clogging of arteries etc with uncontrolled blood sugar levels.
Natural Treatment For Diabetes
Exercising on a regular basis aids to raise your insulin sensitivity as well as get to and maintain moderate body weight. More insulin sensitivity implies that your cells will be able to utilise the glucose in your bloodstream much better. Physical activity also aids in muscle contraction and aids your muscles to utilise glucose for energy.
If you have issues with glucose management, you need to regularly check your sugar levels. This will aid you to know how you react to various activities and maintain your glucose levels from becoming very low or very high. Beneficial types of physical activity are running, brisk walking, swimming, weightlifting, hiking, biking, dancing etc.
Get plenty of sleep
Getting plenty of sleep feels great and is essential for good health. A lack of rest and poor sleep can also affect insulin sensitivity and glucose levels. It can also cause weight gain. Lack of sleep also diminishes the release of growth hormones and enhances the stress hormone - cortisol. Both cortisol and growth hormones have a crucial role to play in glucose management. Added to that, sufficient sleep is also about quality and quantity. It’s better to sleep for a sufficient amount of time each night.
A diabetic diet means a diet which is inclusive of foods appropriate for people with diabetes. Diabetic diet includes foods with high fibre, low glycemic index and low carbohydrates.
All of these assure that glucose levels never spike. It’s also necessary to keep a check on your carbohydrates intake. More carbohydrates intake may cause your glucose levels to increase. Likewise, opting for foods like seafood, lentils, barley, legumes etc. with less glycemic index can aid you to maintain low glucose levels.
Drink Plenty of Water and Remain Hydrated
Having plenty of water may aid maintain your glucose levels within safe limits. Besides preventing dehydration, it aids your kidney to remove the excess glucose by urine. Be mindful that drinking water and drinks that are non-caloric are the best. Sugary drinks and juices can increase the blood sugar levels, promote weight gain and enhance the risk and complications of diabetes.
Permanent Cure for Diabetes
A lot has been discussed regarding diabetes and much research has gone into it. However, after decades of researching on the condition, have we found a permanent cure? Just have a look.
Even though numerous research has gone into discovering a permanent cure for diabetes, it’s often in trial levels. Medical practitioners use the term- remission when the condition is brought under control. When you’re told that your condition is in remission, it implies that the condition is still there, but you won’t experience any outward symptoms of the condition. As the condition is still there, you need to be still careful.
Even if your glucose level has become normal again for above ten years, you are not cured and are still regarded to be in diabetic remission. When detected in advance and managed in the right way, there exists a great possibility of assuring that your condition will go into remission. There are two key ways which diabetics have put their illness into remission, such as:
A low to Medium-Carbohydrate Diet
Managing the carbohydrate intake is pivotal in the case of a diabetic person. The glycemic load of the food (time it takes to release glucose to the blood for the carbs) needs to be reduced by including fiber and protein in the diet. In case of highly uncontrolled sugar levels, the timing of the food and also the frequency of the meal also needs to be managed.
A Preliminary research suggests that a low-calorie diet may be able to reverse type 2 diabetes. About ten people who have type 2 diabetes, slashed their calories for two months, when they followed a diet containing non-starchy vegetables and liquid diet drinks. After three months leaving the diet, seven people were free of the condition!
What do we do at NuvoVivo?
We offer programs to manage and reverse diabetes scientifically by making simple and easy to follow lifestyle changes. This involves a calorie planned diet, home based exercises and necessary followup and support. You could enrol for our programs from anywhere in the world as long as you have a mobile phone and internet connection!
Based on the kind of the followup, and support, we offer two programs -
Low touch plan program (Duration - 3 Months)
High touch plan program (Duration - 3 Months)
Includes making a diet plan, namely carbohydrates/protein/fat ratio and calorie consumption, to match your goals. The plan thus created will be periodically evaluated based on the type of plan (Low touch or High touch). This evaluation and following change will be based on the progress (centimetres lost around the belly and kilograms lost) and the blood sugar levels. You may be required to report the fasting sugar levels (using a home based glucometer) periodically.
We emphasise that you eat normal food; we do not sell any supplements. In an unlikely case where we recommend supplements due to any deficiency, you are required to buy it from a nearby supplement store. The diet plan will be a flexible with alternative options and calorie specific swaps for the given food items. For example, three dosas for breakfast can also be swapped with a certain quantity of idli or chapati or upma!
An exercise plan, including video explanations, depending on your goals and our evaluation of your physical conditions and capacity to perform exercise shall be given. These exercises can be either gym based or home-based, based on the goals. From a beginner, we expect a minimum of half an hour of home-based exercise for five days a week.
We will evaluate the physical activity schedule for every one or two months, depending on the plan. Keep in mind that there are various kinds of exercises, such as swimming, running, yoga, gym, Zumba and more. Not all activities are meant for all - An obese person needs to limit cardio workout as it may lead to injury. Whereas lifting weights or gym workout is not advised for an individual with piles or fistula.
Follow-ups Support and Handholding
One of the key elements to succeed- as your questions may range from what you should eat when you're outdoors, or travelling and could be queries concerning quantity etc. We provide this support via WhatsApp, emails or scheduled calls. We will follow-up often according to the plan you opted (low touch or high touch), to clarify your queries and check on you. We also offer required careful support or guidance, motivation and follow-ups to assure that you can properly follow the program.
Enrol and Start the Program From Anywhere in This World
You can start the program wherever you are, as long as you have a smartphone and internet connection. Once you enrol for the programs, we shall be taking from you all necessary information such as - measurement around your waist and belly (cms), weight (in kgs), recent blood reports, list of current medications, other medical conditions (current or previous), eating habits, food you are allergic to etc!. Once we have these details, we shall be creating a diet plan and exercise plan custom made for your eating habits, lifestyle and medical conditions and share with you over an email and whatsapp...and we are all set to begin!
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