Diabetes: Prevention And Diet Management Strategy By Our Consultant Nutritionist

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Diabetes is a condition wherein the body’s glucose metabolism is out of sync. Normally, food is digested and glucose is released into the blood stream. At the same time the beta cells of the pancreas release insulin which helps transfer this glucose into the cells, bringing the blood sugar levels to normal. In the cells, the glucose is converted to energy. If the insulin produced by the pancreas is not sufficient or if it is not able to ensure transportation into the cells, the blood sugars rise and give rise to diabetes.

Risk Factors Of Diabetes Include:

  • A positive family history (parent or sibling) with prediabetes or diabetes
  • Asian ethnicity population is at a higher risk
  • Overweight/obesity is a crucial factor
  • High BP, Low HDL (good cholesterol) and, or high triglycerides
  • Sedentary life style.
  • Age: 45 years or older.
  • A history of gestational diabetes predisposes to increased risk of diabetes
  • PCOS also increases the risk of diabetes
  • CVD and Stroke increase the risk of diabetes
  • Smoking increases the risk.
  • Prevention is better than cure; so if you are at a higher risk for diabetes you must be mindful and with the correct diet, lifestyle, weight management you can avoid crossing the threshold.

Simple Steps That Prevent Diabetes:

1. Weight Control

Increased weight is the single most important cause for diabetes. Being obese increases your risk 20 times. It has been seen that losing 7-10% of your weight can reduce your chances of developing diabetes by 50%. Weight loss is a process of change and there may not be immediate results so you need to be mindful. Focused and patient. Also it is important that once you lose weight you need to keep it off. Understand your weight management, some ways to lose weight and keep it down.

Learn your calorie count and portion sizes. It is important to understand how you can control your fat and total calorific intake. Changing cooking methods, choosing snacks carefully, eating healthy and in a smaller plate while ensuring flavours is the key.

Exercise should be a part of your life for most days of the week. A combination of cardio and strength helps keep you well-toned and your muscles strong and also prevents fat accumulation.

People who eat a healthy breakfast, usually eat healthier through the day and also do not become prey to late evening snacking, which helps control calories.

To keep yourself aware and focused, maintain a food dairy; it helps. Also make sure you weigh yourself at least once a week during the weight loss journey and once a month for ever. Body composition analyses, BCA, will also help you focus on the areas needing correction more scientifically.

Ration social media and screen time, sleep well and de stress. Stress is one of the major risk factors for weight gain as mental and metabolic pathways are affected adversely due to stress.

2. Diet

Diet is one of the most important tools for preventing diabetes both from the point of weight management and healthy nutrients.

Replace refines grains with whole grains. In the Nurses Health study, which was conducted over 16 years it was seen that participants consuming 2-3 whole grains servings per day reduced their risk of diabetes by 30%. Whole grains are rich sources of fibre which delays gastric emptying, and a reduced post meal sugar rush. Both help with overburdening of the pancreas which helps them work better. In addition, whole grains provide minerals and phyto chemicals that reduce the risk of diabetes and other NCDs.

3. Avoid

High sugar foods especially sugary beverages that also increases the risk of diabetes. Sugar laden sodas, fruit juice, iced tea mixes etc have been found to increase the incidence of diabetes by 32% when consumed daily as was established by Black women’s health study. The Nurses health study II found that women consuming sugary drinks daily had an 83% higher risk of diabetes as compared to those consuming once a month. High sugar intake increases the intake of total calories without adding nutrients and has a detrimental effect on weight. High sugar food have also been linked to chronic inflammation, increased Triglycerides and insulin resistance.

4. Add

Healthy fats. Plant-based fat sources like olive oil, peanut oil, mustard oil are good sources of monounsaturated fats that are healthy and protective. Omega -3 poly unsaturated fats present in fishes like salmon, mackerel, walnuts, flax seeds and chia are also protective. Foods made with hydrogenated vegetable fats, basically bakery goods, fast foods, fried foods made with reheated oils, have a chance of introducing trans fats that are detrimental to overall health.

5. Healthy Protein Packages

Proteins add to satiety, control weight, protect muscles and enhance immunity. Processed meats, high fat organ meats, red meats have been linked to higher risk of diabetes. Choose healthy eggs, poultry, and fish. Choosing one serving of nuts and seeds at least 3 times a week is a good healthy habit.

Diabetic prevention is all about a healthy lifestyle that needs daily inputs. It is not a “DIET” that only one person needs to adhere to but a way for all to follow. Healthy diet and exercise regimen is the cornerstone for good health and hence should be made viable and easy to follow at home, work and communities. An individual alone may find it difficult without support.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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