Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder characterized by high blood sugar levels over a prolonged period of time. If left untreated it can cause serious long-term complications like retinopathy, neuropathy, chronic kidney diseases, heart attacks, stroke, foot ulcers leading to amputation and cognitive impairment. About 450 million people worldwide have diabetes, the majority being in low-and middle-income countries. Currently, India has 77 million people with diabetes. An estimated 1.6 million deaths are directly attributed to diabetes each year. Both prevalence of diabetes, as well as its complication, have been steadily increasing over the past few decades.
Diabetes can be well managed with healthy eating, combined with regular physical activity and weight management. Healthy eating can help you prevent, control, and even reverse diabetes. Eating a tasty and balanced diet will boost your energy and improve your mood. Healthy eating can also help you to maintain healthy blood pressure and body weight.
Types of foods according to Vedas:
According to our ancient Vedic knowledge, there are 3 types of food that have varying qualities/gunas and health effects in all humans. They are Sattva, Rajas and Tamas.
Sattva is the quality of ‘clarity and balance’. Rajas is that of action and change and Tamas is the attribute of inertia, ‘slothness and excessive sleep’.It is the quality of Sattva that we should seek to most preserve in our lives. Sattva is the force that promotes harmony and stability in our mind, Sattvic foods are essential to raising the sattva quality in us. Sattvic foods help to fight against diseases, keeps our weight in check and generally help to maintain a state of healthy life.
What does a Sattvic diet include?
A Sattvic diet is a high fibre, low fat, vegetarian diet which includes seasonal fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, whole grains, pulses, sprouts, dried nuts, seeds, honey, fresh herbs, milk and dairy products that are free from animal rennet. Sattvic foods are low in sugar and refined carbohydrates and high in vitamins and minerals. Thus, Sattvic diets help in reducing sugar levels in those with diabetes and reduce the risk in those at risk of diabetes.
Eating foods that are mostly of the Sattvic variety e.g. beans, vegetables, fruits, and nuts, may decrease your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and early death from causes including some forms of cancers. Eating a diet rich in whole plant foods can reduce your risk of diabetes and promote a healthy body weight. Vegetarian diets are also significantly associated with lower levels of risk factors like high blood pressure and high LDL (bad) cholesterol. It is important to point out however those foods like root vegetables, honey, jaggery and a few fruits which are high in fructose and high in glycemic index, are considered as ‘Sattvic diets’ but these foods are to be avoided by people with diabetes.
Concept of Prana:
It is very important to understand the fundamental concept of consciousness and the vital force called “Prana”. Prana is the breath or life force or energy, which sustains consciousness in the material world. Prana enters the body through the primary channel – Food. It is important to note that if a food contains more prana, the higher will be the energy we possess and it will improve the overall quality of our life.
Foods that provide the right amount of prana are easily digested, allowing the systems to function optimally. The ground rules for keeping our food intake within the ambit of Sattvic food is to ensure that food ingredients are as fresh as possible, the use of spices is moderate and minimal heat is used for cooking.
To increase the level of prana in our lives, we need to start eating right i.e., consume foods that have a sufficient amount of prana. Each time we opt for a pre-packaged food item, instead of fresh and organic food, we drastically reduce the beneficial element of prana in our intake and load our bodies with more chemicals to flush out.