n Singapore, one in three diabetics are struggling to control the condition properly. How does good nutrition help manage diabetes? Join Health Food Matters, the leading brand for texture modified foods, as they explore easy nutrition tips for people with diabetes.
Things You Can Do
Healthy eating prevents sugar in the blood from skyrocketing or dipping too low. There are several ways to plan what and how you should eat.
- Starchy foods work differently on the body depending on its type. Whole grain foods like whole grain noodles, brown rice, multi grain bread, wholemeal chapati and potatoes with their skin are called complex carbohydrates and take a longer time to break down and digest in the body, so they cause a lower sugar spike.
- Low Glycemic Index (GI) foods. The GI is a ranking of carbohydrates in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels. Food that is lower in GI will keep our blood sugar levels down. The rise in blood sugar levels also won’t be as high compared to higher GI foods. Have more multigrain or wholemeal bread, bran, semolina and barley, all types of lentils and beans, yam, sweet potatoes and stone fruit.
- Fibre. Foods which are fibrous not only help lower blood sugar levels but can help lower your cholesterol too. Try a natural fibre supplement which can help to keep the gut healthy, relieve constipation and diarrhoea, lower cholesterol, and lower the glycemic index (GI) of foods. This benefits diabetics greatly, and can be added to any food/beverage.
- Vegetables.They provide plenty of fibre, and what’s more, they are low in fat and calories. Go for vegetables that are green leafy and colourful. A variety of vegetables eaten weekly is the key to getting all the nutrients.
- Foods rich in protein such as fish and skinless chicken, eggs, beans, lentils ( dal), tofu, tempeh, nuts and low fat dairy products.
- Spice up your dish by using natural seasonings like garlic, spring onions, herbs and lemon juice instead of adding salt.
- Deep fried foods which contain unhealthy trans fats, especially baked goods like biscuits, sweets, chips and desserts.
- White bread, sugary cereals, refined pastas/noodles or white rice. By eating foods with empty calories, you are filling up on foods that will make it harder to manage your weight and your blood sugar levels.
- Processed meat and red meat.
- High-fat foods such as butter, cream, whole milk, ghee, cooking oils such as palm and coconut oil, and lard. In diabetes, any extra weight you put on, puts you at risk for heart disease.
- Salty foods such as salted chips, soups and gravies, canned, preserved and processed foods (hot dogs, preserved ham, luncheon meat, dried salted plums, salted cabbage, instant noodles), stock cubes, seasonings and sauces. Too much salt in our diet can increase the risk of hypertension, stroke and cardiovascular disease.
*Please note that if you are eating poorly and losing a lot of weight, then such diet restrictions may not apply to you. You should instead have smaller frequent meals which are packed with protein and calories, and include snacks to prevent your blood sugar levels from dropping.
Eat at the right time
The timing of meals can affect our blood sugar levels. If we go hungry for too long, our sugar levels can be too low. If we eat meals too close together, or snack throughout the day, our sugar level can be too high. It is important to eat after taking medicine or insulin to make sure sugar levels don't fall too low. Make sure your loved one does not skip meals.
Eat the right amount
The amount of food that we eat will also affect our blood sugar levels. Have small, frequent meals rather than big meals.
Get support from your healthcare team (Dietitian, Endocrinologist or Diabetes Nurse), and talk to your family and friends about how you’re feeling and what they can do to help. Keep family members or carers informed and involved in your health care so that in the event that you are unable to care for yourself, they may assist you to manage your condition.
Do you have a loved one who needs nutritious food that is easy to chew and palatable for their taste buds? Visit CaregiverAsia's E-store to view Health Food Matters' Delisoft Easy Meals that come in different textures and can be easily served by reheating in the microwave or steamer!