Uncontrolled diabetes could lead to complicated health conditions such as nerve damage, eye and foot problems as well as possible kidney damage so it’s important to know that prevention is key!
Controlling one’s blood sugar levels is the best way to treat diabetes and decrease its symptoms. Healthy eating along with regular exercise can help regulate blood sugar levels and maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, medical treatments, if needed, have to be supervised by a physician.
Beat the bulge!
If you are struggling with extra weight and/ or suffer from obesity:
• Aim for a healthy and steady weight loss of an average of 0.5 to 1kg per week
• Follow a healthy and balanced regimen that includes meals from all the main five food groups (grains, fruits, vegetables, protein and dairy)
Practice portion control
• Eating clean is not enough. Portion control is very important.
Eat small meals regularly and more frequently
• Eating small meals but more frequently at consistent times helps improve blood sugar levels
• Aim to have 3 main meals with 1–2 healthy snacks as recommended by your healthcare provider
• Breakfast is the most important meal of the day as it helps kick start your metabolism.
• Avoid skipping meals
Do not eliminate carbohydrates from your meals
• Eat carbohydrates in moderation, as they should constitute around 45% of your total daily intake
• Carbohydrates are a major source of energy: choosing the right type of carbohydrates helps in regulating blood sugar levels
• Choose complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, quinoa and whole-grain breads instead of the white, refined ones. Whole-grain is rich in fiber which keeps you feeling full and is essential to decrease the absorption of glucose in the blood
• Avoid simple sugar such as table sugar, honey, candies, sodas, cookies and cakes
• Make sure to include fruits in your daily intake especially the ones with edible skin, stay away from dried fruits and fresh juices even if fresh and unsweetened
• Eat green leafy vegetables at each meal as they are also rich in fiber and help reduce the absorption of glucose in the blood
Reduce your sugar intake
• Practice smart swaps: replace sugar-coated cereals with unsweetened and plain whole-grain cereals such as oatmeal
• Avoid adding sugar to your beverages. You can flavor your beverages with fresh lemon wedges, peppermint, ginger or cinnamon sticks
• Substitute flavored puddings or sweets with fresh fruits, plain yogurt, or yogurt with fresh chunks of fruits
• Stay away from artificial sweeteners and zero sugar beverages and sweets
Include the “good fats”
• Avoid the use of saturated fats (solid fat at room temperature) like butter and ghee
• Choose unsaturated fats like olive oil to dress your salads
• Substitute salted and roasted nuts with unsalted, raw ones
• Consume skinless chicken breast instead of chicken thighs and wings
• Replace lamb with beef fillet as the fat percent is much less
• Aim to consume at least twice a week a fatty fish like fresh salmon or tuna as they are rich in the heart healthy omega-3 fatty acid
Lower your intake of salt to maintain a healthy blood pressure
• Don’t add salt to your meals, use spices and herbs to flavor your favorite dishes
• Avoid condiments such as mustard, ketchup, soy sauce as they are very high in sodium
• Avoid the use of cooking stocks
• Limit the consumption of cold cuts and smoked meat / fish
• Cut down on ready-made foods, soups, frozen meals, olives, pickles and canned items as they are also very rich in sodium
Use the Plate Method to guide you; here’s our cheat sheet :)
Instructions: Cut along the dotted lines and keep it handy!
• Aim to be active at least 3 times a week for a total of 150 minutes. Not a gym buff? Try dancing, swimming, football, tennis…
• Always check your blood glucose (sugar) levels before any type of activity as high blood glucose levels with heavy activity can lead to hypoglycemia (very low blood sugar) and many other complications
• Consult your physician prior to starting any exercise routine
Yours in Health,