Dibetics and Resistance

In Ayurveda, diabetes is referred to as madhumeha, a Sanskrit term that directly translates as “sweet urine” disease. Indeed, when our blood sugar levels rise above a certain threshold, it spills over into the urine and can be detected. The ancient description of this disease includes an appreciation for the fact that derangements in body tissues take place due to imbalances in metabolism. The term for this in Sanskrit is dhatupaka janya vikruti.

The cause, symptoms, prognosis, and management of diabetes were also described in detail in the Vedic texts thousands of years ago. Ayurveda recognizes the multifactorial nature of diabetes, making reference to tendencies inherited at birth as well as accumulated imbalances of potentially all three doshas or mind-body constitutions (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha).

Resistance

Since Ayurveda considers diabetes mainly an excess of Kapha dosha, it recommends a Kapha-pacifying diet to keep diabetes under control. The guidelines include eating more foods that are bitter, astringent, or pungent in taste – and decreasing consumption of foods that are categorized as sweet, sour, or salty.
Here are some more recommendations for balancing Kapha. Keep in mind that an Ayurvedic dietary prescription takes many factors into account, such as age, body constitution, season, and other environmental and social factors, so a consultation with a trained practitioner is necessary to make specific individual recommendations.

  • Eat foods that have a balancing effect upon the dominant dosha or that will pacify (balance) a dosha that has become excessive or aggravated. Because Kapha is heavy, oily and cold, favor foods that are light, dry, or warm.
  • Reduce your intake of dairy, which tends to increase Kapha. You can use small amounts of ghee, low-fat milk, and low-fat yogurt.
  • Drinking hot ginger tea with meals helps stimulate slow digestion. Drink 2–3 cups of ginger tea daily. Find the Chopra Center recipe for ginger tea here.
  • All beans are good for Kapha types except for soybeans and tofu, which should be eaten in moderation.
  • Favor lighter fruits such as apples, pears, pomegranates, cranberries, and apricots. Reduce heavier fruits like bananas, pineapples, and figs.
  • Grains: Favor barley, corn, millet, buckwheat, and rye. Reduce intake of oats, rice, and wheat.
  • All spices except salt are pacifying to Kapha. Use pungent spices like pepper, cayenne, mustard seed, and ginger freely in your diet.
The Ayurvedic perspective on balancing Kapha is consistent with Western medicine’s current understanding of the proper diet for diabetes, which recommends minimizing simple carbohydrates, fats, and other heavy foods while increasing “lighter” foods such as beans (as the main protein source), whole grains, and lighter fruits and vegetables.