Lifestyle and other factors have led to surging numbers of people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes.
In the United States alone, around 30.3 million Americans, or 9.4 percent of the population, had diabetes in 2015. A very small percentage of them were diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Each year, an estimated 1.5 million people are diagnosed with diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association (1).
Diabetes is a health condition in which your body has elevated blood sugar levels. This can happen due to two things:
- In Type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin.
- In Type 2 diabetes, the body does not respond well to insulin.
Common factors that contribute to Type 2 diabetes include unhealthy eating habits, lack of exercise, genes, belonging to certain ethnic background and age.
When diagnosed with it, your whole life changes. There are several lifestyle changes that you may have to make to reduce your risk of diabetes-related complications like heart disease, blurred vision, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Depending on whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, you may either require oral medication, insulin shots or both.
With the right diet and enough exercise, diabetes can be prevented as well as controlled. When it comes to diet, one common ingredient that has always been in the news is bitter gourd.
Bitter Gourd and Diabetes
Bitter gourd, also known as bitter melon or bitter squash, has an antidiabetic property.
It contains three active compounds – polypeptide-p, vicine and charatin – that make it effective for managing blood sugar levels. These active compounds help the cells take up sugar molecules, increase insulin secretion, stimulate the liver and muscle glycogen synthesis, and reduce glucose absorption in the body.
According to a 2011 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, bitter melon had a modest hypoglycemic effect and significantly reduced fructosamine levels among patients with Type 2 diabetes who received 2,000 mg per day. However, the effect was less than the decline seen in those taking 1,000 mg per day of metformin (2).
A 2015 study published in the Egyptian Pharmaceutical Journal reports that bitter melon can be used as an effective oral adjunct hypoglycemic, with no reportable clinical side effects (3).
Again, a 2017 study published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine shows the significance of hypoglycemic effects of bitter gourd and Knol khol juices among Type 2 diabetic patients (4).
Despite knowing that bitter gourd is beneficial for diabetes, many people find its bitter taste unpalatable. But you can still reap its benefits by mixing it with other ingredients.
You can try some bitter gourd juice recipes, where the taste of bitter gourd can be made more tolerable with the flavors of other diabetic-friendly vegetables and fruits.
For instance, we will be using cucumbers, green apples, lemon juice and turmeric powder in our juice recipes.
Cucumbers have a glycemic index rating of 0, which means diabetic people can eat them freely without worrying about their blood sugar. This water-rich vegetable has a special hormone that the pancreas utilizes to produce insulin, which in turn helps the cells convert carbohydrates into energy.
A 2016 study published in BioImpacts concluded that cucumber has protective effects against diabetes complications and can be considered a safe and suitable candidate for decreasing the oxidative stress and carbonyl stress that is typically observed in diabetes mellitus (5).
Green apples are crunchy and juicy, and a healthy fruit that diabetic people can eat (6).
Apples are high in soluble fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants that benefit the body in many ways. Also, they contain pectin that helps detoxify the body and remove harmful waste.
Another ingredient we used is lemon juice, which is good for diabetic people due to the vitamin C and soluble fiber in it.
A 2014 study published in Advances in Nutrition reports the positive effect of citrus flavonoids, naringin and naringenin on metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that includes insulin-resistant diabetes (7).
Turmeric powder is also beneficial, due to its anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin.
Here are two different bitter gourd juice recipes for people who have diabetes.
Note: You may pass the juice through a sieve or strainer if you cannot process high-fiber foods. Also, check your blood sugar level before and after drinking the juice to make sure it suits your body.
#1 DIY Bitter Gourd and Cucumber Juice
#2 DIY Bitter Gourd and Turmeric Juice
1. DIY Bitter Gourd and Cucumber Juice
This simple and easy-to-make juice is slightly sweet and bitter in taste.
Things you’ll need:
- 2 large bitter gourds
- 1 medium cucumber
- ½ of a lemon
- 1 green apple
- ½ teaspoon of salt (optional)
1. Wash the bitter gourds and peel off the skin.
2. Slit the bitter gourds vertically, and remove the rind and seeds using a spoon or knife. Roughly chop the bitter gourds into smaller pieces.
3. Soak the bitter gourd pieces in a bowl of water for 10 minutes. Optionally, you can add ½ teaspoon of salt to the water.
4. Peel a cucumber and cut it into pieces.
5. Cut the green apple into small pieces.
6. Put the bitter gourd, green apple and cucumber in a juicer to extract the juice.
7. Add the juice of ½ of a lemon.
Your diabetic-friendly bitter gourd and cucumber juice is ready. Drink it once daily on an empty stomach to help control your blood sugar level.
2. DIY Bitter Gourd and Turmeric Juice
This is another simple and quick way to make bitter gourd juice. This juice has a strong bitter taste, but at the same time you cannot ignore the flavor of turmeric in it.
Things you’ll need:
- 2 bitter gourds
- ½ of a lemon
- ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder
- A pinch of Himalayan salt
- ½ teaspoon of salt (optional)
1. Wash and peel the bitter gourds, then deseed and chop them into smaller pieces.
2. Add ½ teaspoon of salt in a bowl of water and soak the chopped bitter gourd in it for 10 minutes.
3. Toss the bitter gourd in a juicer and extract the juice.
4. Add the lemon juice, turmeric powder and a pinch of Himalayan salt to the juice.
Drink this juice once daily on an empty stomach to keep your blood sugar level under control.
- You can keep the skin bitter gourd skin if it does not bother you, but make you rinse it thoroughly to remove all pesticide residue.
- Eat more whole grains as well as fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid drinks that are rich in sugar, such as sodas, fruit punch, fruit drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks and sweet tea.
- Do not eat candy, pancakes, French fries, white bread, whole milk, bacon, cakes, pastries and pretzels. Also, avoid white rice, regular pasta, sugary breakfast cereal, and instant oatmeal.
- Limit your consumption of red meat and processed meat.
- Control your weight. Being overweight increases the risk of having diabetes and makes it more difficult to manage.
- Do not sit on the couch. Instead, start exercising. Even a simple brisk walk 30 minutes a day lessens the chance of developing diabetes and helps better manage the disease.
- Quit smoking, as it increases your chances of getting diabetes.
- If you drink, do it in moderation.
- Statistics About Diabetes. American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/.
- Hypoglycemic effect of bitter melon compared with metformin in newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes patients. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21211558. Published March 24, 2011.
- Preliminary clinical trials of karela, Momordica charantia, on non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus patients. Egyptian Pharmaceutical Journal. http://www.epj.eg.net/article.asp?issn=1687-4315;year=2015;volume=14;issue=1;spage=69;epage=74;aulast=Salam.
- Immediate effect of bitter gourd, ash gourd, Knol-khol juices on blood sugar levels of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: A pilot study. Egyptian Journal of Medical Human Genetics. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2225411017300147. Published February 15, 2017.
- Protective mechanisms of Cucumis sativus in diabetes-related modelsof oxidative stress and carbonyl stress. BioImpacts. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4916550. Published 2016.
- A Comprehensive Review of Apples and Apple Components and Their Relationship to Human Health. Advances in Nutrition. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3183591. Published September 2011.
- Effect of Citrus Flavonoids, Naringin and Naringenin, on Metabolic Syndrome and Their Mechanisms of Action | Advances in Nutrition | Oxford Academic. OUP Academic. https://academic.oup.com/advances/article/5/4/404/4568623. Published July 07, 2014.
Last time you had gastro trouble, your doctor probably recommended sipping on an electrolyte drink. But do you even know what he meant when he mentioned an electrolyte drink?
Electrolytes are basically salts – the fancy term for ions in the salts. The major electrolytes in your body are sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphate, sulfate, bicarbonate and chloride.
Electrolytes are important for regulating the functioning of your nerves and muscles. Your body’s cells use them to maintain voltage and carry electrical impulses across their cell membranes to other cells.
However, diarrhea, heavy sweating or certain health conditions may lead to a severe loss of electrolytes in the body, thus causing fatigue, weakness and illness. This is when you need an electrolyte drink!
While there is a plethora of commercial electrolyte drinks in the market, they contain sweeteners and preservatives that you might not want to consume. Moreover, anything homemade is always more healthy, fresh and tasty.
So, why not prepare your own electrolyte energy drink at home?
Here are the basic ingredients that go into making an energy booster at home:
Water is the primary ingredient that acts as the carrier of electrolytes.
Salt (unrefined only) is rich in several minerals like sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium. It helps replenish the sodium reserve in the body that declines with sweating and thus maintains the cell voltage in your body while keeping you electrically charged throughout. It also plays a major role in balancing stress hormones, while reducing adrenaline fatigue.
Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, potassium and calcium content and thus are exceptionally rich in electrolytes. The naturally occurring sugars in citrus fruit juices are a great energy booster during a workout and even speed up recovery afterward. Moreover, fruits like lemons, oranges and grapefruits that are rich in vitamin C help maintain the immune system by replenishing lost electrolytes in the body.
Honey acts as a natural sweetener and is packed with natural enzymes and minerals that help the body absorb the richness of salt components, while also improving the taste of the drink. Moreover, honey contains antimicrobial and healing properties that help in soothing sore throats and coughs.
Ginger contains anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory properties that, with sea salt, acts as a powerful concoction to help you feel better and rejuvenated. Ginger is also a plus for soothing your stomach and reducing muscle soreness.
Here are 2 recipes for homemade electrolyte energy drinks:
A – DIY Ginger Electrolyte Drink
B – DIY Orange and Lemon Delight
DIY Homemade Electrolyte Energy Drinks
A – Ginger Electrolyte Drink
Things you’ll need:
- Water – 1 cup
- Fresh ginger slices – 3 to 5
- Lemon juice – 1 tablespoon
- Sea salt – ¼ teaspoon
- Raw honey – 1 to 2 tablespoons
1. Heat 1 cup of water in a pan.
2. Throw in 3 to 5 slices of ginger.
3. Boil and steep for about 5 minutes and then strain the liquid.
4. Add lemon juice to the solution.
5. Add ¼ teaspoon of unrefined salt to it.
6. Pour 1 to 2 tablespoons of organic honey.
7. Mix thoroughly to dissolve the salt and honey completely. This will help blend the sweet, sour and salty flavors well.
Sip and enjoy the energy drink during and after your workout session for a refreshing start of your day.
B – Orange and Lemon Delight
Things you’ll need:
- Water – 2 cups filtered
- Lemon juice – ¼ cup freshly squeezed
- Orange juice – ½ cup freshly squeezed
- Raw honey – 2 to 4 tablespoons
- Unrefined salt – ¼ teaspoon
1. Take one-half cup of orange juice.
2. Add lemon juice to it. Mix the juices together to blend in the sweet and sour flavors.
3. Add 2 to 4 tablespoons of raw honey.
4. Pour in water and mix the solution well.
5. Add a little unrefined salt to it.
6. Whisk the ingredients together to completely dissolve the salt and honey.
Enjoy the refreshing treat whenever you want a boost of energy and mood or during and after your workout sessions.
- The water used for making an electrolyte energy drink at home must be as clean as possible. If you do not have a water dispenser at home, simply boil water in a pot before you use it in the drink. Distilled water, the captured vapor from boiling water, is probably the closest to pure water with all the trace elements, minerals, contaminants and pollutants removed.
- You must use only sea salt or real salt to make the drink. Table salt does not contain any of the important minerals, due to the way it is processed.
- For extra benefits, you can substitute the water with an herbal tea infusion.
- If you are ill with a stomach bug, using teas like peppermint or spearmint can be soothing to your digestive system. They help you feel better, while also hydrating the body for a better recovery.
- Always use honey instead of sugar as a sweetener. To further enhance the taste, you can add some mashed mango. You can also add slices of certain fruits to provide a soothing flavor.
- You may use ginger water in the orange and lemon electrolyte drink as well, as ginger helps reduce muscle pain and soreness.
If your body allows you to go without deodorant for some days, you are truly lucky!
The scorching heat and the humidity, they make you sweat badly. Don’t they?
Sweating is a good thing. It is your body’s way of releasing toxins. The real trouble is the odor that can follow sweating. While sweat (perspiration) has almost no odor, the bacteria that break down the sweat into acids cause the odor.
Although commercial deodorants are definitely a feasible option, there are a plethora of reasons why you must avoid them. The major reason being that commercial deodorants contain aluminum-based compounds, parabens and toxic chemical fragrances that are a perfect storm for your body.
These chemicals are linked to diseases like breast cancer and even Alzheimer’s. On top of that, your armpits are a very sensitive area on which to apply toxins and hamper your lymph nodes nearby.
One of the best ways to keep your armpits and the rest of your body free from toxins is to prepare your own homemade deodorant. Well, the idea may sound crazy but so are the results!
Although this won’t stop you from sweating, it can definitely help keep the odor at bay. And if the ingredients include coconut oil, rest assured, nothing goes better!
Coconut oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties that help fight off odor-causing bacteria. It also acts as the base for the deodorant to give it a creamy texture. Moreover, coconut oil is an incredible moisturizer and deodorizer. In fact, people have reported applying just plain coconut oil as a natural and effective deodorant.
Baking soda is an amazing agent for absorbing bad odors. It helps neutralize your pH and works as a fungicide to prevent infection.
Shea butter is an incredible moisturizer and helps protect the skin from dryness. It also helps with the little bumps that you get after shaving your underarms.
Beeswax helps keep the deodorant from melting, giving it a more solid feel. It also helps with the perspiration problem.
Cornstarch, along with its lack of scent, has the ability to absorb moisture, making it an excellent ingredient for homemade deodorants.
Essential oils have excellent healing and psychological benefits. For example, tea tree oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties that help keep fight odor-causing bacteria. Lavender has a soothing fragrance that imparts a sense of relaxation and well-being.
How to Make a DIY Homemade Deodorant
Things you’ll need:
- Coconut oil– 1/3 cup
- Beeswax, grated or pellets (optional)– 3 tablespoons
- Shea butter– 2 tablespoons
- Cornstarch– 1/3 cup
- Baking soda– 1 tablespoon
- Essential oil of your choice – 10 to 15 drops
- Deodorant containers
1. Place 3 tablespoons of grated beeswax in a double boiler.
2. Add 2 tablespoons of shea butter to it.
3. Blend in 1/3 cup of coconut oil.
4. Allow the beeswax, butter and oil to melt completely.
5. Remove it from the heat, and add 1 tablespoon of baking soda.
6. Add 1/3 cup of cornstarch to it.
7. Mix and blend thoroughly until smooth.
8. Fuse in the aroma of your favorite essential oil by adding 10 to 15 drops. You can use a single essential or a blend of 2 or 3 of them.
9. Pour the mixture into deodorant sticks or silicone molds.
10. Allow it to cool and settle for a couple of hours, then your deodorant is ready for use.
Use your deodorant every morning to keep you fresh all day long.
Roll or rub it directly on your armpits. You may also put a small amount on your fingertips and gently rub it on your armpits.
Let it dry for 3 to 4 minutes before putting on your clothes.
You may use this regularly in place of a commercial deodorant.
- Waiting 3 to 4 minutes after applying the deodorant allows it to dry, preventing any stains or residue on your clothes.
- If you wish to skip heating the coconut oil, you can use the solidified form of the oil. Mix it in manually until all the other ingredients are completely absorbed in the oil.
- If you have sensitive skin, try reducing the quantity of baking soda to half or even skip this. You may also use diluted lemon juice or apple cider vinegar instead.
- For further aroma and enhancement, you may use cocoa butter.
Are you battling bad breath? Worry no more! Mixing up some common kitchen ingredients is all you need to do to create a quick remedy for bad breath.
The problem can be caused by an increase in odor-causing bacteria in the mouth due to a decrease in saliva or some sort of stomach problem. However, the most common reason is eating foods like raw onion or garlic.
A good mouth freshener can alleviate this problem anytime.
While it is easy to just buy one from the market, the high prices for small quantities are ridiculous.
You can prepare your own homemade mouth freshener with your kitchen ingredients at your disposal. Plus, making one yourself at home offers the following benefits:
- It’s inexpensive: With all the kitchen ingredients put to use, your homemade mouth freshener will not be more than a fraction of the cost of commercial products.
- No preservatives or chemicals: Preparing a mouth freshener at home rids you of all the artificial sweeteners, preservatives, dyes and other chemicals in commercial products.
- You get to choose your own ingredients: A homemade mouth freshener allows you to experiment. You can choose from among your favorite quality ingredients and come up with a few effective mixtures that you like the most.
So, spend a little time this Sunday and treat yourself to a homemade mouth freshener.
Here are some of the ingredients you can use:
Cardamom: Strong and unique in taste, cardamom (also known as choti elaichi) has an intense aroma that helps fend off any foul odor from the mouth. Also, it aids in digestion and relieves problems like bloating and flatulence.
Cinnamon: Cinnamon, also called dalchini, inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria. It also warms and stimulates the digestive system. Plus, it acts as a natural food preservative to prevent food spoilage, so it will help increase the shelf life of your homemade mouth freshener.
Clove: Cloves, also called laung, have strong antimicrobial and antioxidant properties that help heal and fight infections in the mouth.
Roasted coriander seeds: Also called dhania dal, this nutty and warm spice imparts a deep and intense flavor to the mouth freshener.
Fennel: Highly aromatic and flavorful, fennel seeds contain anethole that has excellent antimicrobial properties against bacteria, fungi and yeast. Plus, fennel, also referred to as saunf, has a nice sweet flavor and keeps your mouth feeling fresh after a meal.
Dried ginger powder: Dried ginger, also called sonth, possesses antibacterial properties that kill odor-causing bacteria in the mouth. Also, it stimulates the production of saliva in the mouth, which helps naturally wash away bacteria.
Flaxseeds: Also known as alsi, these little seeds leave a long-lasting flavor nutty flavor and work wonders in beating bad breath.
Melon seeds: Also known as magaz, musk melon seeds are good for digestion. Plus, they have a sweet and nutty flavor.
Carom and white sesame seeds: Tiny aromatic seeds, these are exceptionally good for the stomach and digestion.
As these ingredients help relieve bad breath as well as aid in digestion, this recipe does not merely work as a mouth freshener but also as an effective digestive aid that you can enjoy post meals.
DIY Mouth Freshener-cum-Digestive Aid
Things you’ll need:
- Fennel seeds – ¼ cup
- Coriander seeds – ¼ cup
- White sesame seeds – ¼ cup
- Dried ginger powder – 1 teaspoon
- Cinnamon powder – 1 teaspoon
- Clove powder – ½ teaspoon
- Cardamom seeds – 2 tablespoons
- Carom seeds – 1 tablespoon
- Dried coconut shreds – as per your taste
- Flaxseeds – 1 tablespoon
- Melon seeds – 2 tablespoons
- Sugar candy (also called misri) – as per your taste
1. Dry roast fennel seeds in a skillet on low heat for 5 minutes and set aside.
2. Dry roast coriander seeds for 3 to 4 minutes and add them to the roasted fennel seeds.
3. Dry roast white sesame seeds for 5 minutes and fuse in the mixture.
4. Dry roast melon seeds and blend into the mixture.
5. Next, dry roast coconut shreds on low heat until golden brown and add to the mixture.
6. Dry roast flaxseeds on low heat for 6 to 7 minutes or until they start spluttering, then add them.
7. Dry roast carom seeds for 3 to 4 minutes and add to the mixture.
8. Mix all the ingredients together.
9. Blend in cardamom seeds.
10. Add dried ginger powder.
11. Add clove.
12. Add cinnamon powder and mix the ingredients.
13. Mix in the sugar candy.
You can store your homemade mouth freshener in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Keep the container in a cool, dry place.
Consume 1 or 2 teaspoons after meals or anytime you want to freshen your mouth.
- Always roast the ingredients on low heat. Roasting on high heat may turn them sour.
- Always store the mouth freshener in an airtight container to prevent moisture from seeping in and altering the ingredients.
- Avoid sulfide-rich foods like garlic, onion and ginger at night, or when you expect to have close encounters with others as when dating your love.
- Avoid protein-rich food at night, as anaerobic bacteria are known to thrive at night on the protein leftover in the mouth.