Medically reviewed by Dr. Laxmi Kulkarni, BAMS and Master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics
It was December 2019, when China reported an outbreak of a new . This infectious virus was named as novel coronavirus or COVID-19. As COVID-19 continues to spread in India and globally.
It is important for each one of us to take the necessary precautions to help prevent infection and spread of the virus.
Individuals over 60 years of age and those with pre-existing medical conditions, including diabetes, are at the increased risk for complications. As a result, many changes in our daily lives are being recommended in order to minimise the spread of COVID-19.
Possible cares for the community, hence as an indirect line of care for individuals affected by Pre-diabetes and Diabetes. Educates about how to manage diabetes during COVID-19. Also take an extra precaution to minimise the virus spread and at the same build immunity to fight with it.
Diabetes during COVID-19 are one such concern that we will talk today giving you certain guidelines to follow during this lockdown period at home.
Nutrition And Gut Health
- When it comes to individuals with diabetes it is necessary to practice a balanced diet specially to maintain stability of blood glucose level and immunity.
You can think about the Possible Plate concept that consists of:
- 50% Vegetables & Fruits: Consume 4-5 servings of Vitamin C rich fruits and green leafy vegetables.
- 25% Complex Carbs: Consume whole wheat Roti, Brown Rice, Millet preparations, etc
- 25% Protein: Consume a variety of Dals, Legumes and Beans, Non Veg – Eggs, Chicken and Fish.
- The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has suggested foods that are rich in nutrients such as proteins and vitamins like A, C, E, Zinc to improve the immune system.
- Vitamin C is as major as salt in an Indian food. So fill up your body with fruits like oranges, sweet lime, muskmelon, papaya which are rich in Vitamin C.
- Food like carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes are not just similar in color but are also rich in Vitamin A that are more essential for individuals with diabetes.
- Food groups such as pumpkin seeds, beans, chickpeas, almonds, cashews are a natural supplement of zinc which is essential for your body to promote healing, protein synthesis and growth of immune cells.
- Processed foods like white bread, pasta and other refined flour food substances are to be kept far away from reach.
- Foods like Turmeric, Ginger, Garlic, Cinnamon, Fenugreek Seeds, Curry leaves, etc are common in Indian household and should be utilized well.
- Essential fats are a must for your body. You can always add up seeds like sesame or pumpkin seeds as a dressing for your soups, smoothies, and salads.
- Drink 20-30 ml of herbal decoctions daily to boost immunity (One decoction at a time, do not start all at once):
- Boil 3 gm Turmeric powder in water to make a drink (twice a day, 15 ml each).
- Fenugreek/Methi seeds 1 tsp & boil or 5 gm of Methi seeds powder in water (Sip throughout the day).
- Boil 7-8 Curry leaves or 5 gm of curry leaves powder in water (drink this on empty stomach).
- Probiotics & prebiotics have been shown to promote specific aspects of health like
- Promote better control over sugar levels
- Reduces inflammation
- Enhances immune system
- Helps in weight management for diabetics
- Probiotics like curd and buttermilk improves your gut health, hence can be consumed during mid meals or major meals.
As per Govt directives, individuals are advised to stay indoors, most of outdoor traveling or activities have come to halt.
We must keep ourselves engaged in indoor activities like doing daily chores, cleaning, cooking. Also to maintain discipline in our wake, sleep cycle and meal timings.
Medications And Supplements
- If any supplements or medications prescribed by the physician, continue the same. Do not change the dose of medicines without physician’s knowledge. Check if you can consult them online.
- Discuss with the physician and take a multivitamin supplement daily one for a month.
- You can supplement your diet with Vitamin D supplement (once a week for a month).
- Discuss with your coach or physician to start with probiotic supplement like Darolac or Velgut.
- Take Chyavanprash 0.5 tsp each in the morning & evening to manage your blood sugar spikes (only for Diabetes, there should be 30 mins of gap in your medication intake). 
Research suggests that adequate sleep helps in improving T cells (Immune cells) production in the body to fight against infections. Therefore we advise an average 7-8-hour sleep. 
- Meals can be split in 3 Major meals and 2 snack meals, ideal gap between each meal should be 2-3 hours. Now that you are at home, you can practice early dinners, say by 8-8.30 PM.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol intake, since these habits are detrimental to your health.
- Increasing mobility in important for both diabetes and weight management.
- Walking after each meal for 15 to 20 mins also helps in increasing blood flow and nutrient transport to body
- It is great if you can manage to walk for 30 mins in your apartment lobby or premises, veranda or inside the house.
- Exposure of 30 mins to sunlight between 7 AM to 10 AM helps in improving Vitamin D in the body.
- You can also practice simple Yoga asanas to improve flexibility in your body.
- Lockdown may induce anxiety since we are not habituated staying indoors. Research has shown that anxiety and stress during the Isolation and Social distancing affects sugar levels.
- Simple techniques of breathing, Pranayama and Meditation helps in controlling stress levels.
- Other techniques like listening to music and reading books also help in coping with stress and anxiety.
Practice warm salt water gargling technique twice a day; morning and in the evening.
- 1⁄2 medium cauliflower, florets cut into small bite-sized pieces
- 2 medium carrots, cut on a sharp diagonal into 1⁄8” thin rounds
- 1 small white or yellow onion, sliced into very thin rounds
- 2 chillies, sliced into thin rounds
- Garlic cloves, quartered – 6
- Plain white vinegar or apple cider vinegar – 1 cup
- Water – 1 cup
- Salt – 1 tbsp
- Honey – 1 1⁄2 tbsp
- Leaf – 1 bay
- Oregano – 1 tsp
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Pack the cauliflower, carrots, onion, jalapeños, and garlic into a quart-sized wide-mouth mason jar. Place the jar in the sink since you will be pouring hot liquid into it soon.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, salt, honey, bay leaf, oregano, and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer over high heat, then carefully pour the hot vinegar mixture into the jar. You should have enough to completely submerge the vegetables (and maybe a little extra). Tuck the bay leaf into the side of the jar.
- Let the pickles cool to room temperature (about 1 1⁄2 hours) before gently tapping the jar to remove air bubbles. The pickles should be well pickled and ready to consume at this point. If you are not eating them right away, securely fasten the lid and refrigerate for up to a month.
2. Kambu Ragi Koozh / Ambali (fermented, vegan, gluten-free)
- Whole kambu or Bajra – 1 cup
- Ragi flour – 1.5 cups
- Water for cooking – 4.5 – 5 cups
- Salt to taste
- Chopped onion (Optional)
- Soak the whole kambu or bajra for an hour.
- Rinse and let it air-dry for a couple of hours.
- Then use a mixer and grind to a coarse rava/broken grain consistency. Add water to the broken kambu and add the ragi flour, mix well. Set aside till it ferments. Overnight does the trick.
- Boil the water, add salt to the fermented grain mixture. Keep some more water aside.
- In case the porridge becomes too thick, add water as required. Allow it to cook till it thickens and flour gels together. Set aside till it cools completely.
3. Fresh Turmeric Root and Mango Ginger Pickle in Lemon Juice
- 150 gms Fresh Mango Ginger
- 150 gms Fresh Turmeric Root
- 1/3 Cup Lemon Juice (~5 Large Lemons)
- 4-5 Green Chillies (optional)
- 1/2 tsp Salt
Clean, dry, air-tight glass bottle
- Using a few drops of oil, grease your palms. This prevents the turmeric root from staining your palms.
- Peel and chop the turmeric into thin slices. You can also julienne them.
- Peel and chop the mango ginger into thin slices. You can also julienne them.
- Cut the green chillies into 1/2′′ pieces.
- Add the mango ginger slices, turmeric root slices, green chillies, lemon juice and salt to a clean, dry, glass bottle.
- Use a spoon and mix well.
- Close the bottle and let the pickle rest for 2 days.
Diabetes and COVID-19 are one such topic that has been discussed in the current period of lockdown. People with diabetes have to ensure that they are taking certain measures to manage their health because staying home and the lockdown is depriving us of certain availability.
While we have proposed certain guidelines for people with diabetes during COVID-19 pandemic. It is in your hands to provide your best to work on your health. Make sure to not risk your health during this period since all the medical services are dedicated towards the COVID-19 patients.
Even if you find difficulty with health, take good precautions to protect yourself from getting caught with COVID-19. As it is dangerous to overcome this virus effect if you have medical conditions like diabetes.
The pandemic could still go on for a while, but you cannot ignore your health or of anyone you care who has diabetes. For if you are not aware of, most of the fatalities of COVID-19 have had other medical conditions in them like diabetes, heart disease etc.
Do not be the person who regrets after the result. Make your life healthy and immunity as strong as possible.