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10 useful naturopathy and yoga tips for diabetics in summers

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As the seasons shift, individuals managing diabetes navigate unique challenges crucial for maintaining stable blood sugar levels and preventing complications. Winter often sees sedentary habits that can disrupt diabetes management, while summer brings heightened risks like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Diabetes-related damage to blood vessels and nerves can affect sweat glands, exacerbating vulnerability to dehydration, especially with increased urination due to elevated blood sugar levels. Moreover, insulin sensitivity fluctuates in warmer temperatures, necessitating frequent monitoring for type 1 diabetes patients to adjust insulin doses accurately.

Recent data from The Lancet shows that diabetes affects about 101 million people in India, which is approximately 11.4% of the population. Additionally, a survey commissioned by the health ministry suggests that another 136 million people in the country may be living with pre-diabetes. These statistics underscore the widespread impact of diabetes nationwide. Given these challenges, integrating naturopathy and yoga practices tailored for summer conditions can provide invaluable support in managing diabetes effectively and promoting overall well-being during warmer months.

Here are ten naturopathy and yoga tips tailored to help diabetics effectively manage their health during the summer:

  • Healthy Eating: Adopt a well-rounded diet that includes plenty of leafy greens, colourful vegetables, and low-glycaemic fruits like berries, whole grains, legumes, and oats. Avoid high-sugar and processed foods, as well as fatty snacks, which can spike blood sugar levels and contribute to weight gain. Choose healthier cooking methods like baking, grilling, or steaming instead of frying.
  • Yoga: Incorporate specific yoga poses into your daily routine that promote flexibility, strength, and relaxation. Poses like Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose) and Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) are beneficial as they stimulate the pancreas, improve blood circulation, and enhance insulin sensitivity. Additionally, practicing Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) can invigorate the body and mind while promoting overall well-being.
  • Explore Naturopathy: Consider integrating naturopathic therapies into your diabetes management plan. Naturopathic medicine employs natural remedies such as acupuncture, which can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance. Hydrotherapy, involving water treatments like contrast showers or baths, promotes circulation and relieves stress. Herbal supplements like cinnamon or bitter melon may also aid in blood sugar control when used under professional guidance.
  • Hydration: Proper hydration is crucial for managing diabetes, especially in hot weather when the risk of dehydration increases. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to help flush out excess glucose through urine and maintain optimal kidney function. Avoid sugary drinks and opt for plain water or infused water with slices of citrus or cucumber for flavour.
  • Sleep Quality: Aim for quality sleep of 6-7 hours per night to support overall health and optimal glucose metabolism. Establish a bedtime routine that includes winding down activities like reading or listening to calming music. Ensure your sleep environment is conducive to rest with comfortable bedding, proper ventilation, and minimal exposure to screens before bedtime to promote relaxation and restorative sleep.
  • Personal Hygiene: Practice good hygiene habits to prevent infections and support overall well-being. Wash hands thoroughly with natural soap and water frequently, especially before meals and after using the restroom. Consider using a Neti pot for saline rinses to clear nasal passages and reduce the risk of respiratory infections, which can be more challenging for diabetics to manage.
  • Mental Well-being: Manage stress through mindfulness practices such as meditation or deep breathing exercises, which can help stabilise blood sugar levels and reduce cortisol production. Engage in hobbies or activities that bring joy and relaxation, whether it's gardening, art, or spending time with loved ones. Consider seeking support from a counsellor or joining a diabetes support group to share experiences and receive emotional encouragement.
  • Weight Management: If overweight or obese, prioritise gradual and sustainable weight loss through a combination of regular physical activity and dietary adjustments. Incorporate aerobic exercises like brisk walking, swimming, or cycling, which help burn calories, improve insulin sensitivity, and enhance cardiovascular health. Strength training exercises with resistance bands or weights can build muscle mass, which aids in glucose metabolism and overall weight management.
  • Outdoor Activity: Spend time outdoors in moderation to soak up sunlight and boost Vitamin D levels, which plays a crucial role in immune function and bone health. Engage in outdoor activities like gardening, hiking, or picnicking in shaded areas to avoid excessive sun exposure. Monitor blood sugar levels closely during outdoor activities and stay hydrated with water or electrolyte-rich beverages to prevent dehydration, particularly in hot weather.
  • Avoid Immune-Suppressing Foods: Limit the intake of high-fat foods, processed snacks, sugary beverages, and refined carbohydrates, as these can weaken immune function and exacerbate inflammation in the body. Instead, choose nutrient-dense foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, such as leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and lean proteins, to support immune health and overall vitality.

  • Conclusion
    Integrating naturopathy and yoga into the management of diabetes during the summer offers a holistic approach that addresses both physical and mental well-being. By focusing on nutrition, hydration, physical activity, and stress management through yoga and naturopathic practices, individuals with diabetes can enhance their quality of life and mitigate the seasonal challenges posed by hot weather. Embracing these holistic strategies not only supports blood sugar control but also promotes overall health and resilience. Always consult with a healthcare professional to tailor these practices to individual needs and ensure safe and effective management of diabetes.

    (Dr Babina NM, Chief Medical Officer, Jindal Naturecure Institute)

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