Lifestyle disorders and chronic ailments are rampant. Everybody is looking towards naturopathy or natural treatments as a means to better deal with their health, in specific, chronic conditions like diabetes.
To understand the extent of how naturopathy helps in managing diabetes, it’s important to know what naturopathy and diabetes actually are. Swaantana helps you understand this and more.
What Is Naturopathy?
Naturopathy is a type of alternative medicine – a traditional type – that seeks to combine ancient healing practices with modern methods to help one live healthier.
Naturopathy combines science and nature to formulate natural and holistic treatments that kickstart a body’s own healing ability. Naturopathic treatments for chronic illnesses such as arthritis, diabetes1, and asthma can also be prescribed.
Naturopathy emphasizes prevention and internal healing.
Practitioners follow six principles that guide naturopathic medicine:
-Healing Power of Nature
It’s considered that one’s health is directly correlated to their environment. If the external environment is healthy, the internal will be too. Self-healing is known to be an inherent mechanism of every living being. Naturopathy seeks to remove obstacles and promote self-healing through natural therapies.
-Identify and Treat the Cause
Naturopathy doesn’t focus on treating the symptoms, it aims to treat what causes the symptoms. All therapies and treatments are focused on addressing the underlying issue of the disease and curing it. That way, it also helps prevent the body from contracting the same illness again.
-First, Do no Harm
Naturopathic treatments use non-invasive and integrated treatments to minimize risk of harmful side-effects.
-Doctor as Teacher
Naturopathic doctors believe in empowering patients to take an active interest in maintaining their own health. They do this through informing and educating them on healthy living practices and guiding them on their naturopathic journey.
-Treat the Whole
Every person has unique health needs that should be addressed to guarantee an effective treatment. Doctors must consider the whole picture – their entire medical history of physical and mental ailments – to create a treatment plan.
-Prevention is Key
It’s easier to prevent a disease than it is to cure it. Naturopathic doctors aim to build a treatment plan in such a way that it helps one sustain good health; prevention of disease is the ultimate goal.
Therapies also include acupuncture, herbal medicine, and homeopathy.
Diabetes – What It Is, And How It Is Caused
Diabetes mellitus, more commonly known as diabetes, is a metabolic disease that disrupts the body’s ability to process blood glucose (blood sugar).
The hormone insulin is required to move glucose from your blood to your liver where it can be stored. The stored glucose reserves are used for energy. If you have a diabetic condition, then your body either doesn’t produce insulin, or it can’t use the insulin it has produced.
Glucose and insulin play very important roles in the body.
The insulin is produced in the pancreas which then facilitates the transport of glucose (sugar) to different cells in the body. This normal blood sugar gives energy to the body and acts as the main fuel for the brain as well. When blood sugar drops, dizziness and fatigue set in. When blood sugar is too high, it leads to stroke or heart disease.
Untreated or undiagnosed high blood sugar can have adverse effects on the functioning of other major organs. This includes kidneys, eyes, and nerves.
There are different types of diabetes that can occur and the cause of each varies. For the most part, diabetes causes vary depending on the individual’s genetic makeup, family history, health conditions, and environmental factors. Different types require different levels of care and management.
In all types, though insulin and processing of glucose is affected.
There are three major types of diabetes that can develop:
1. Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition where the pancreas are unable to produce insulin. It’s caused by the immune system attacking and destroying its own pancreatic cells where insulin is produced. This causes the diabetic condition by leaving the body without enough insulin to function normally. Instead of insulin helping transport sugar to the cells, it builds up in the bloodstream.
Type 1 diabetes is also known as juvenile diabetes.
People with type 1 diabetes are insulin-dependent, which means that they have to take artificial insulin in the form of injections to function normally. The exact cause of this type of diabetes is unknown but it has been posited that genetic history and environmental factors play a role.
2. Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes affects the functioning of insulin. Unlike in type 1, the body still produces insulin but the cells are resistant to it. If the pancreas are unable to produce more of the hormone to overcome the resistance, then sugar can build up in the bloodstream.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type.
The causes of type 2 diabetes are varied and usually involve a combination of multiple factors:
-a sedentary lifestyle
-family history of diabetes
-high blood pressure
3. Gestational Diabetes
This usually occurs in women during pregnancy and childbirth, where her body becomes resistant to insulin production and causes elevated blood sugar levels. Usually, there aren’t any physical symptoms seen before and it resolves itself after she has given birth.
The common link is definitely genetics and family history. Having the foresight to know previous family medical history can help one take steps to prevent or manage the condition.
Naturopathy Diet For Diabetes
Since one of the main risk factors for exacerbating diabetic conditions is a poor diet, keeping track of what one eats can go a long way towards managing the disease. Conventional medicine will advise treatment plans that include medications and therapies but keeping an alternative option of naturopathy is very helpful.
Practitioners – alternative and conventional – agree that proper nutrition is the cornerstone for diabetes management. A range of nutritional strategies can be implemented to help an individual deal with the condition.
Naturopathic diets are a modified version of the balanced diet pyramids. The recommendations are described below as per the food groups:
It’s recommended to avoid all high carb products, but that’s an unrealistic expectation. Instead, swapping out the regular white rice for the brown one and consuming more whole grains can help in lowering the overall blood sugar.
A gluten-free diet might be best. Legumes and soybeans have just the right amount of protein needed to be healthy without the possible side-effects of meat-based protein sources. Plant-based protein also slows the glycemic response in blood, which can help regulate glucose levels.
Consuming lots of fresh and leafy vegetables is the best way to add fiber to an anti-diabetic diet. Six to eight servings of vegetables per day can help slow the glycemic response in the body.
Nuts and seeds and whole fat dairy products are good sources of essential fats. Since they’re all natural fats, consuming them reduces the dependency on trans fats and oil-based food. This, in turn, nourishes and replenishes the body that can contribute to reduced diabetic medication.
Other complementary therapies include adding plant-based foods and spices to your diet that can supplement diabetes management.
-Cinnamon extracts can boost metabolism which triggers insulin release.
-Clove oil extracts can enhance insulin sensitivity and lower the chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
Naturopathic Treatments For Diabetes
The objective of naturopathic treatments for diabetes is to help an individual manage and regulate their blood sugar levels within a healthy range. This is done through a range of therapies that includes diet and nutrition recommendations, Ayurvedic treatments, physical exercise, and lifestyle changes.
Even though the causes for diabetes differ wildly, most of them can be controlled and managed. Nutritional deficiencies and environmental toxins do contribute to insulin resistance and can be a bit tricky to navigate and require special evaluation. A practitioner can recommend which factors should be prioritized and which are reasonable to modify.
While naturopathy does help in preventing and managing diabetes to a certain extent, the treatments can only be effective if an individual takes a proactive approach to their own health.
When you approach a trained naturopathic doctor, such as at Swaantana, for treatment for diabetes, there usually will be a physical exam alongside a complete review of lifestyle habits, family history, medical history, and past health concerns.
At Swaantana, a general diabetes treatment approach includes a combination of:
-Review of blood sugar levels – past and current trends
-Dietary and nutritional guidance to aim for more balanced blood sugar levels
-A thorough evaluation of other systems impacted by diabetes, such as the heart, kidney, and brain
-Therapy protocols that include Ayurvedic massages and treatment, Yoga practises, Naturopathy treatments and more.
– Preventative strategies to avoid worsening the condition
-Herbal supplements to complement disease management
Following an initial consultation, the naturopathic doctor will make a personalized treatment plan that focuses on areas of priority and modification. If you’re dealing with chronic conditions and would like to consider a traditional, natural approach to diabetes, consult our expert today.
1. Diabetes and naturopathy
2.Type 2 diabetes and acupuncture
3. Insulin dependency in type 2 diabetes
4. Diabetes Overview – National Institute of Diabetes
5. Cinnamon and its effect on glucose levels
6. Clove oil extracts and its role in blood sugar