Any successful method for treatment of diabetes should aim at removal of the actual cause of the disease and building up of the whole health-level of the patient. Diet plays a vital role in such a treatment. The primary dietary consideration for a diabetes patient is that he should be a strict lacto-vegetarian and take a low-calorie, low-fat, alkaline diet of high quality natural foods. Fruits, nuts and vegetables, whole meal bread and dairy products form a good diet of the diabetic. These foods should be eaten in as dry a condition as possible to ensure thorough ensalivation during the first part of the process of digestion.
Cooked starchy foods should be avoided as in the process of cooking the cellulose envelopes of the starch granules burst and consequently, the starch is far too easily absorbed in the system. The excess absorbed has to be got rid of by the kidneys and appears as sugar in the urine. With raw starchy foods, however, the saliva and digestive juices in the small intestine regulate the quantities required to be changed into sugar for the body's needs. The unused and undigested portion of raw starchy foods does not become injurious to the system, as it does not readily ferment.
The diabetic should not be afraid to eat fresh fruits and vegetables which contain sugar and starch. Fresh fruits contain sugar fructose, which does not need insulin for its metabolism and is well tolerated by diabetics. Fats and oils should be taken sparingly, for they are apt to lower the tolerance for proteins and starches. Emphasis should be on raw foods as they stimulate and increase insulin production. For protein, homemade cottage cheese, various forms of soured milk and nuts are best. The patient should avoid tea, coffee, cocoa, white flour, sugar and all the products from them, tinned fruits, refined cereals and alcoholic drinks. He should also avoid overeating and take four or five small meals a day rather than three large ones.
Among the several home remedies that have proved beneficial in controlling diabetes, perhaps the most important is the use of bitter gourd Recent research by a team of British doctors have established that bitter gourd contains a hypoglycaemic or insulin-like principle, designated as. 'plantinsulin', which has been found valuable in lowering the blood and urine sugar levels. It should, therefore, be included liberally in the diet of the diabetic. For better results, the diabetic should take the juice of about four or five fruits every morning on an empty stomach. The seeds of bitter gourd can be added to food in a powdered form. Diabetics can also use bitter gourd in the form of decoction by boiling the pieces in water or in the form of dry powder.
The tender leaves of the mango tree are considered useful in diabetes. An infusion is prepared from fresh leaves by soaking them overnight and squeezing them well in water in the morning. This filtrate should be taken every morning to control early diabetes. In the alternative, the leaves should be dried in the shade, powdered and preserved for use when necessary. Half a teaspoon of this powder should be taken twice a day.
Besides bitter gourd, certain other vegetables have been found useful in diabetes. These include string beans, cucumbers, onion and garlic. String bean pod tea is an excellent natural substitute for insulin and valuable . in diabetes. Cucumbers contain a hormone needed by the cells of the pancreas for producing insulin. Onions and garlic have proved beneficial in reducing blood sugar in diabetes.
The diabetic patient should eliminate minor worries from his daily life. He must endeavor to be more easy-going and should not get unduly worked up by the stress and strain of life.