My mother has been diagnosed with pre-diabetes and has been prescribed medication. What can she do to control/manage her condition?

The first thing to remember is that your mother does not have to be on any drugs for now. If she is pre-diabetic, we can reverse everything with just food and lifestyle changes. However, these changes will have to be made for a lifetime.

Food: Start mornings with a tbsp of organic ghee, butter or coconut oil. Blend this in black coffee or tea or have it by itself. Refined sugar consumption should become negligible over time but initially, take small gradual steps so changes are easy to maintain. Breakfast should have mainly proteins from eggs or lentils if that suits her gut. Carbs should be from vegetables not from potato and corn.

White rice is better than gluten-containing wheat. Add a tsp of ghee and some lentils, or meat and veggies along with rice. Stay away from bread, chapatis and oats. Sweet potato for dinner with some protein is good. A handful of nuts as a snack is also good. Stay well hydrated.

Exercise: Light walking three times a week, up to three kilometres each time.

Follow these lifestyle changes and almost 80 per cent of the issues will be sorted. Lastly, remember, our body is a representation of our thoughts, emotions and feelings. Take care of emotional wellbeing; staying connected to the spiritual side will help her feel much better.

I struggle to sleep well at night and when I mentioned it to a friend, she said it could make me gain weight and lead to health issues. Is that true?

Humans have a biological clock which is in sync with the sun and the moon. It’s called the circadian rhythm. Our body produces melatonin, the sleep hormone, after sunset and late evening. Our deepest sleep is around 2am-4am and the body temperature is low at this time, enabling the system to rest well. With sunrise, blood pressure and body temperature rise, preparing our body to wake up. Melatonin production goes down, while adrenaline, testosterone and cortisol go up making you feel more alert and fresh. Planning activities according to your circadian rhythm will ensure that the cells work optimally resulting in better energy, alertness, concentration, and endurance. By not following the internal clock, you are disturbing the basic functions of the body, including metabolism, mood, blood sugar levels.