By Dr. G S Lavekar, Ayurveda
Obesity or being overweight is a condition characterized by excessive storage of fat in the body. When the body’s calorie intake exceeds the amount of calories burned, it leads to the storage of excess calories in the form of body fat. Increased body fat puts a person at risk for many critical conditions such as heart disease, liver damage, diabetes, arthritis and kidney problems.
Development of Type 2 Diabetes Due To Obesity-
It is not known for sure why some people develop insulin resistance, but it is known that obesity and lack of physical activity make it worse. The development of insulin resistance is an important component in the development of type 2 diabetes. The connection is also seen in the fact that weight-loss can improve control or cure type 2 diabetes. In addition to the degree of obesity, where excess body fat is deposited is important in determining the risk of type 2 diabetes. Check out the diet for Diabetes.
The degree of insulin resistance and the incidence of type 2 diabetes is highest in a person with an ‘apple’ shaped. These persons carry the majority of their excess body weight around their abdomen. In contrast, the ‘pear’ shaped person carries most of their weight in the hips and thighs and this is not as likely to be associated with insulin resistance.
Holistic Approach To Diabetes and Obesity-
Obesity is known as Medarog, which is caused by the aggravation of Kapha. Kapha is Ayurvedic humor which is dense, heavy, slow, sticky, wet and cold in nature. It governs all structure and lubrication in the mind and body apart from controlling weight and formation of all the seven tissues – nutritive fluids, blood, fat, muscles, bones, marrow and reproductive tissues.
In a balanced state, Kapha gives nourishment to these tissues through various micro-channels. However, when it is aggravated, Kapha leads to the production of toxins in the body. These toxins are heavy and dense in nature and accumulate in weaker channels of the body, causing their blockage. In the case of an obese person, toxins accumulate in Medovahi Srotas (fat channels), thereby leading to an increase in the production of fat tissue (Meda Dhatu). When the body produces more fat tissues, it causes an increase in weight.
The Holistic line of treatment for obesity begins with the pacification of Kapha Dosha. This can be done by eliminating Kapha-aggravating foods from the diet. Next, the treatment also focuses on the cleansing of the Medovahi channels through cleansing herbs so that excess weight can be reduced.
In Holistic terms, the allopathic treatment of diabetes is known as Madhumeha and diabetes as Prameha which is said to be divided into 3 major types – Kapha, Pitta and Vata. Lack of exercise and intake of food having an excess of Snigdha, Ushna and Guru types are said to be the chief cause of Prameha.
The treatment of Prameha depends on the individual’s constitution. It depends on:
- Manasika Prakriti
- Dooshya vitiation
- The Prakriti of the patient
- Ahara & Vihara
- Obstruction in Srothus
- Dosha predominance of disease
- Hereditary factors
Diet – Lifestyle Advice
- Avoid high carbohydrates like polished rice and potato.
- Avoid oily and fried foods, processed foods, fatty foods like butter, purified butter, cheese, whole-milk yogurt, cream, chocolate, etc.
- Have more bitter vegetables like bitter gourd and the bitter variety of drumsticks.
- Replace refined flour with whole-wheat flour and rice with brown rice or parboiled rice.
- Increase intake of fruits, salads and vegetables.
- Along with drugs and medications, the approach medication stresses the importance of a balanced diet and exercise.