If you are overweight or obese and have a chronic condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol problem, it’s more important to tackle the disease markers first rather than going for drastic weight loss.
Adopting healthy eating habits will help to bring down sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure levels and in turn help maintain a healthy weight.
Eat less salt to control high blood pressure
- It is important to limit food and drinks containing added salt. Excess sodium in the body (found in salt and salty foods) raises blood pressure and may put you at risk of a stroke or kidney problems.
- Foods such as salted snacks, soups and gravies and processed foods such as hot dogs, luncheon meat or stock cubes are high in sodium and should be reduced.
- When cooking at home, use whole spices, lemon juice or natural seasonings such as shallots, onions, garlic and parsley to spice up the cooking instead of adding salt.
- Minimize the number of times you eat out as most food sold outside is highly salted.
- When dining out, ask for less gravy, avoid drinking the soup and limit preserved foods such as salted egg and salted fish.
- When purchasing foods, choose foods that have the ‘Healthier Choice’ symbol or those labeled ‘Low in Sodium’ or ‘No Added Salt’.
Mind the fat to manage heart disease
High saturated and trans fat foods can contribute to high cholesterol levels, and this increase one’s risk of stroke or heart attack. Limit:
- Fatty meats (pork/mutton/beef)
- Skin and fat on chicken or duck
- Canned or processed meats (sausage, salami or luncheon meat).
- Deep fried foods
- Full cream milk and dairy products
- Coconut milk/oil and coconut products
- Foods containing butter, palm oil, ghee or lard
- Potato chips, pastries, cookies and cakes
- Margarine and shortenings
- Organ meats
Smart carbohydrate choices to control diabetes
In general, people with diabetes are more likely to get a stroke and renal disease than those without. Therefore, it's important to choose healthier types of carbohydrates to control blood sugar levels.
- Have whole grain/brown varieties of bread, rice, noodles, pasta and oatmeal.
- Limit refined grains such as white flour, white rice, pastry and sweetened breakfast cereals.
- Add starchy vegetables (pumpkin, sweet potatoes, corn) and legumes ( beans, lentils, split peas) to your diet. They provide a steady stream of carbohydrates to the body and don't spike blood sugar levels.
- Have more fruits and colourful vegetables (e.g.spinach, kale, chye sim, nai bai, tomato, capsicum and brinjal) to your daily diet.
- Limit sweetened canned/packet drinks, bubble milk tea and the like
- Limit canned fruit with syrup, dried fruit coated with sugar/honey/juice concentrates, fruit punch or fruit juice
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