New Delhi: People with diabetes face a real challenge during the winter season. The cold weather coupled with reduced physical activity puts stress on the body, causing it to go into a fight-or-flight mode. This results in the release of natural survival hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Consequently, the liver releases more glucose for energy leading to increased blood sugar levels.
Dr H.P. Bharathi, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jindal Naturecure Institute says: “Presently, more than 50 million people in India have diabetes and it is expected to go over 6 crores by 2025. So, there’s a big challenge in front of the country to tackle this rising concern. A naturopathic approach recommending specific behavioural changes can help in the effective management of diabetes during the winters.” He shares six naturopathy and yoga tips that can help people with diabetes during the cold season.
1. Diet: A well-balanced diet is crucial to keep diabetes in control no matter the season. It is recommended to include plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lentils, beans, and oatmeal. Sweets and fatty foods should be avoided. Also, diabetics should refrain from consuming dry fruits as the fructose in them may spike the sugar level.
2. Yoga: The ancient practice of yoga can work wonders on the body, helping people with diabetes to keep the disease under control and lead a normal, happy life. Science has shown that specific yoga poses that involve the twisting and stretching of the internal muscles and organs stimulate the pancreas and endocrine system. This facilitates insulin secretion, which keeps the blood glucose levels under check.
3. Alternative treatments: Alternative treatment methods like acupuncture, physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, etc., can restore harmony to the body in several ways. Acupuncture, where thin needles inserted into specific points in the body, can help with weight loss, control blood sugar levels, and reduce insulin resistance. Physiotherapy and hydrotherapy promote neurological and musculoskeletal functions that aids in weight loss, reduces stress levels, and lowers blood pressure.
4. Mental health: Those affected with diabetes live with a lot of stress. It can cause spurts of anxiety, mood change, confusion, and depression. The American Diabetes Association says that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) may occur during winters; however, it is treatable. Spending time with loved ones, indulging in hobbies, or getting professional help are some of the ways through which diabetics can find relief.
5. Lose weight: Obesity can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 80-85 percent. For people with obesity, the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to meet the body's needs. Therefore, losing weight becomes the only option to stay healthy and fit. Regular exercise, brisk walks, etc., should be incorporated into daily life to get rid of excess weight.
6. Avoid immune suppressing foods: Diabetics should stay away from high-fat food, alcohol, caffeine, and white sugar, suppressing the immune system’s effects. Too much high-fat foods can block the lymphatic system, hindering the body’s ability to fight infections.