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The Ayurvedic Approach to Diabetes

“Ayurveda believes that illness is caused by an imbalance in the body's energy systems or doshas,” says Dr. Somesh N Kaushik, an Ayurvedic and naturopathic physician, “and correcting that imbalance often starts with the diet.” Type 2 diabetes—the inability to use insulin efficiently—can be considered as an imbalance in the Kapha dosha, which controls metabolic processes. Kaushik recommends a Kapha-pacifying diet as part of his treatment plan.

“As Kapha is considered to be heavy, oily and cold, foods that are the opposite—light, dry and warm—are needed for balance,” he says. “Incorporate foods that are bitter, astringent, or pungent, avoiding those that are sweet, sour, or salty. Astringent foods include beans, peas and lentils, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. Bitter foods include spinach, chard, kale, asparagus and mustard greens.” 

Dairy and cooking oils should be reduced; use small amounts of ghee or low-fat milk or yogurt instead, he says. Choose lighter fruits like apples, pears, and pomegranates, but avoid bananas, pineapples, and figs. Choose whole grains (barley, millet, rye, oats, buckwheat) over refined grain products (white flour, white bread, white rice). 

Red meat, processed meats, and certain seafood aggravate Kapha, although salmon may be included for the omega-3 fatty acids, Kaushik says. Spices such as pepper, cayenne, mustard seed, cardamom, coriander, and ginger can be used freely. Fenugreek seeds’ fiber will slow the absorption of sugar, as will almonds and cinnamon when eaten with a carbohydrate. Cooking with turmeric regulates blood sugar levels.

Finally, “dry” cooking methods (baking, broiling, grilling) are preferable to frying, Kaushik says.

On November 10 at 7 p.m., Kaushik will give a free online lecture on diabetes through the Pawling Free Library. To register, call 845.855.3444 or visit PawlingFreeLibrary.org.

Dr. Kaushik’s Ayurvedic and Naturopathic Clinic is located at 792 Rte. 35, Cross River, NY. The clinic is open Monday through Friday. To reach the clinic, call 914.875.9088; for telemedicine, call 646.670.6725. For more info, email [email protected] or visit DrKaushik.com.
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