A Few Things about Diabetes

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Very important – please start by reading the article “Let’s talk: Taking Charge of your Diabetes” in Issue 17 (download here) of ZASA Magazine (February 2017) to understand the context of this post, it is supplementary material. The magazine is free.

A Few Things about Diabetes (by Steven Nonde, BSc, Biomedicine)

A key part of managing diabetes is managing what you eat. Dietary changes and physical activity can help you control your blood sugar and slow down the progression of diabetes-related complications. In people without diabetes, being physically active and following a healthy diet can help you prevent diabetes and other chronic diseases (such as high blood pressure).

Following a high-fibre, low-fat eating plan;

  • Eat three regular meals every day. These should be evenly spaced and eaten about the same time every day. Try to be as consistent as possible.
  • Eat moderate portions of low GI (glucose index) food. Limit your intake of refined flour and sugar. Fructose in powder is not a suitable sweetener.
  • Reduce fats. Avoid fried foods. Foods that are baked, grilled, boiled, or steamed are healthier to eat. Eat meat that has little fat. When you eat dairy products (like cheese, milk, yogurt, and others), choose those that have little or no fat or cream.
  • Eat a variety of foods. Choose a variety of foods to eat so that your body gets the nutrition it needs.
  • Eat less sugar. You may find that eating less sugar helps you control your blood glucose level. Have less of foods that have extra sugar, such as cookies, cakes, pastries, candy, brownies, and sugared breakfast cereals.
  • Eat less salt. Eating less salt may help control your blood pressure. You can reduce intake by using less salt when preparing meals or using herbs and spices to flavour your food instead.
  • Substitute. Oat bran can be used to lower the GI (glucose index) of most baked foods. Consider substituting one-third of white flour with oat bran in most recipes when baking.
  • Keep alcohol consumption to a minimum. Harmful use of alcohol can be dangerous to your health. It can negatively react with your medication leading to complications. Drinking beer on an empty stomach can cause your blood glucose levels to drop excessively. Low blood glucose can be just as dangerous. Consult a doctor or a nurse before committing to any eating plan.

Food for thought

Managing diabetes may seem to be a burden. However, having knowledge about your condition makes managing it easier. Knowing more about your condition allows you to understand how your medication works and why you are taking it. It will encourage you to take more control of your treatment. Strive to educate yourself.

Remember Ubumi, “it starts with U.” Follow me on Facebook @Ubumihealth

Note: GI (glucose index) refers to the amount of glucose in food. Foods with a high GI have high glucose content and vice versa.

The information in this post is for educational purpose only. It should not at any instance take precedence over consulting a health professional. This information is obtained from Diabetes South Africa and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA.

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