How Spices Can Help Curb Sugar Cravings?

How Spices Can Help Curb Sugar Cravings?

The Ayurveda Experience January 23, 2016

What’s the Ayurvedic perspective on blood sugar issues?

When people talk about blood sugar issues, they’re often referring to hypoglycemia-type symptoms in which blood-sugar levels bottom out. This can lead to sudden hunger, light-headedness, dizziness, shakes, confusion, headaches, and moodiness.

From an Ayurvedic perspective, these symptoms are a sign of Vata (air/ether) indigestion or variable agni (agni is Sanskrit for digestive fire). These symptoms often go hand-in-hand with gas, bloating or pain after eating, constipation or a general feeling of agitation or nervousness.

But blood sugar is a complex thing and can also be caused by an imbalance in the other doshas, Kapha (water/earth) and/or Pitta (fire/water).

Luckily, there are some special Ayurvedic kitchen spices that are appropriate for people of any constitution or imbalance that in small amounts as part of your daily diet, will not only help to regulate blood-sugar levels and prevent diabetes but will also improve your digestion generally.

Fenugreek Seeds

Which doshas it pacifies: Vata and Kapha

Health benefits: Fenugreek seeds have trigonelline and coumarin as active compounds. Such compounds are nourishing to the pancreas, and have a cholesterol-reducing effect, thus balancing sugar levels in both diabetes 1 and 2. They help treat sluggishness, gaseous digestion, and with their high mucilage content, improves the bulk of stools and soothe their passage through the intestines. They are a great remedy for lower back pain, sciatica arthritis, and are nourishing to the bones and hair.

How to use it in your kitchen: Fry the seeds lightly in oil at the beginning of the cooking process, but don’t overdo it or they’ll become bitter. A sprinkle of sprouted fenugreek seeds can also be a lovely addition to meals.

Turmeric

Which doshas it pacifies: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Note: the fresh root is more pungent than the dried powder so, if taken in excess, it can aggravate Vata and Pitta dosha.

Health benefits: According to Ayurveda, turmeric is an all-around wonder spice! Turmeric helps with blood formation and purification, anemia, inflammation, skin disorders, and helps to stop bleeding. Traditionally it is also used as an ingredient in certain formulations to clear toxins, balance Kapha dosha, and reduce excess fat tissues.

How to use it in your kitchen: Add ¼ teaspoon to soups, casseroles, curries, dals/lentils/pulses, and to hot milk before bed.

Cinnamon

Which doshas it pacifies: Vata and Kapha

Health benefits: Cinnamon improves Vata indigestion, strengthens and harmonizes circulation, removes excess mucous from the lungs, and nourishes sexual reproductive tissues. Recent research has shown that cinnamon reduces blood sugar fasting levels due to its high antioxidant content and polyphenols, that help maintain insulin sensitivity.

How to use it in your kitchen: You can add whole cinnamon quills to rice, soups, curries, or casseroles… or add a sprinkle of ground cinnamon to basically any meal, sweet or savory.

Black Pepper

Which doshas it pacifies: Vata and Kapha

Health benefits: It helps improve digestion, circulation, and respiration. It also rejuvenates the respiratory system, destroys toxins, and kills parasites. As it contains chromium, a component of glucose tolerance factor, black pepper is a useful part of many diabetes treatments, normalizing fat tissue and preventing toxins from overflowing into the pancreas.

How to use it in your kitchen: Black pepper can be easily added to most meals and will particularly aid the digestion of heavier foods like meat, cheese, and eggs. As it is quite heating, Pitta-types should not have black pepper in excess.

Aloe Vera

Which doshas it pacifies: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha

Health benefits: The bitter taste of aloe works via the liver to encourage the release of bile which can help to regulate blood sugar levels but also lipid levels in hypertriglyceridemia. It is popularly used to heal skin in the case of sun burns, scars, and wounds. It also helps heal mucous membranes and is used to treat gastritis, ulcers, hyperacidity, and ulcerative colitis.

How to use it in your kitchen: Consume aloe vera as a juice. A 30ml shot in the mornings with a pinch of turmeric will do the trick!

Tulsi

Which doshas it pacifies: Vata and Kapha

Health benefits: It has a light, uplifting effect on the body and mind. It improves mental clarity and stability. It enhances metabolism and so can help to reduce weight, blood sugar levels, and total cholesterol. It has been shown to increase lung capacity, reduce fever, and increases appetite while simultaneously calming the digestive tract.

How to use it in your kitchen: Tulsi is widely available as tea, so this is the easiest way to have it. However, it is also really easy to grow (much like basil).

Bitter Melon

Which doshas it pacifies: Pitta and Kapha. It also has the special quality of not aggravating Vata, which is quite rare for a bitter substance.

Health benefits: An excellent all-around medicine for blood sugar regulation. Its active constituent, charantin, is an effective hypoglycemic while its polypeptide P lowers blood-sugar levels more effectively than insulin. It is used traditionally with other herbs to treat diabetes, but also urinary disorders, anemia, and skin conditions.

How to use it in your kitchen: Slice it very thinly and then cook in ghee with spices, until soft. You can use it as an intense pickle to accompany meals.

 


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