Managing B.P, Diabetes and High Cholesterol

Q: I am 5 ft 7” tall, 85 kg and having high BP since 2 years. A month ago I was diagnosed as having high sugar and high cholesterol. When I think of all the dietary restrictions and changes I have to make I feel very depressed and hopeless. Please give me some guidance as to how to face all this.

A: I understand very well how you must feel and the feeling that there is nothing more to live for with all this but before I say anything else I want to say that you have much to thank God for. So many are facing HIV, AIDS and cancer today and they are more difficult to handle. All the conditions you are facing can be handled with remarkable results if you get good medical guidance and make a few changes with your diet and lifestyle.

These conditions are caused by some of the following factors – heredity, stress, unhealthy eating habits and sedentary life style. Most people however when faced with these problems feel “God is punishing me, I feel its not fair”, and they go into depressions which may only worsen their condition.

I would say that the first step is to change your attitude. Thank God that it is only this and not something worse and ask God the Almighty to guide, help and heal you. “Cast your cares on Him for He cares for you”. I Peter 7:7 “Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking Him with a thankful heart”. Philippians 4:4.

Your physician may have put you on some medicine for each of these conditions. But please note that by medication alone you cannot control any of these problems). At present you are a good 10 kgs over weight. We have seen that in all these 3 conditions weight reduction will have the most significant effect.

1. So first and foremost you must try to lose weight. Avoid Fatty Foods like fried items, sweets, rich bakery product, nuts , red meat, butter, ghee and cheese. And eat a balanced diet with plenty of fiber.

2. To lower B. P. you must reduce your salt intake. Many feel that they are taking medication so they don’t have to be very strict about these rules. This can be dangerous Please try to avoid adding salt to food at the table and avoid salty snacks like chips, mixture, namkeen, papad, pickles, bakery items and use minimum salt in cooking. Also restrict intake of cold storage items like ham, salami, etc., as they contain preservatives and a lot of salt.

3.For diabetes avoid addition of refined sugar to food and avoid sweets of any kind and sweet aerated drinks. Besides this, we have seen that restricting fatty foods like all deep fried items and rich coconut preparations and oily non-veg dishes are very important as they are high in calorie and raise the sugar levels significantly.

4. For lowering cholesterol the over all intake of fat must be reduced. The person cooking the food must be specially instructed to use less oil and coconut and to use a non- stick pan and also steam or microwave vegetables before sautéing so less oil can be used. Very strict avoidance of animals fats such as cream in milk (use only skimmed milk), butter, ghee, egg yolk, skin of chicken and all organ and red meats must be observed. Avoid any saturated fats, i.e., those that solidify at room temperature – coconut and coconut oil, dalda, margarine, etc .Avoid deep fried food and rich pastry and sweets.

Here is a very important point I want to make. I understand that for a normal person to adhere to the above restriction is quiet difficult but here’s my message of HOPE - Follow the above very strictly for 2-3 months – only then can you bring down the levels close to normal. Once you are within safe limits, think you are shifting into a maintenance programme where you may eat small portions of the restricted food once or twice a week. Beware, however, of indulging everyday. That will shoot up the levels again!!

In addition to the above Don’ts, here are a few do’s.

  1. WALK – 25 to 30 minutes in the morning as well as 25-30 minutes in the evening. We are seeing wonders with 2 sessions of exercise.

  2. WATER – Drink 2.5 – 3.0 liters throughout the day.

  3. DIET – Follow the above very strictly.

And also try to add a lot of fiber to the diet with whole cereals, wheat, oats, ragi, whole pulses, channa, rajma, moong, raw vegetables and salads and fruits with fibre like apple, orange, musambi, pomegranate, etc.

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