World Diabetes Day 2022
A few weeks ago (Monday 14th November) was World Diabetes Day. I thought this would be the perfect time to do a blog post on this topic, in relation to nutrition. Diabetes is all about how sugar is processed within the body when we consume food. There are two types, (type 1 and type 2 diabetes)
Now I am not going to go into scientific detail about this topic as this is something better explained by a Dietitian I believe. They are trained and qualified to explain about diabetes. Diabetes is something that will not go away once this is diagnosed, so it is something to live with for the rest of the life expectancy. The best part we can do to manage this condition is to live a healthy lifestyle. I am going to give quick hints and tips to live well whilst living with the condition.
- Exercise- I have explained on my previous posts the benefits of moving and increasing exercise on a regular basis. This also is a great benefit for someone with diabetes, as this can help the body process the sugar better and help with blood circulation. You can read about my post on exercise here: Exercise
- Sleep and Mental Health- These things I think go hand in hand when this comes to diabetes. When we do not get enough sleep, this can have an effect on the types of food we choose and can affect our stress levels. Mental wellbeing plays a vital role with managing diabetes, as again this can reduce stress. Find something that you enjoy doing, whether this is joining a club, meeting friends, go for a massage, whichever it is, find something which will help your body to relax, which can help to reduce stress. Further details on self care can be found here: Self Care
The NHS (National Health Service) produced a guide into how to eat well. I think this is a great tool to use when adopting healthy and sensible eating, which I will explain further:
- Plenty of food containing Carbodydrates is important as this provides us with energy we need to move around, in particular make sure these foods have an element of fibre in this. Examples are seeded bread, wholemeal rice, sweet potatoes, Yam, Ground Rice, Naan bread. This should make up about a third of our daily recommended intake per day.
- Fruit and vegetables- great for vitamins and minerals. These do not have to be fresh, it can be tinned, frozen or juiced. Do not feel pressure to buy fresh, as these can be expensive, especially during the challenging times we are facing. Examples include lentils, kidney beans, plantain, black eye beans, sweetcorn amongst others. This should also be about a third of our recommended intake per day. It is recommended for juices to limit these and go for water instead, or flavoured water (look at the labels first and go for the lowest sugar content)
- Beans pulses, eggs, fish and other proteins- this section on the eatwell guide is a smaller portion in comparison to the carbohydrates. This should make up to about 15-20 percent of our daily intake. Proteins are important to make new cells in the body, and support with muscle growth. For vegetarians and vegans there are great alternatives I always recommend increasing the intake of the vegetables as a substitute for meat.
- Dairy and alternatives- This is great for calcium, which helps with strength of bones and teeth. This can be found in milk or other alternatives like coconut, almond or soya milk. Yoghurt also contains calcium. However there alot of vegan options for this, so it is worth checking this out in the local supermarket, regularly checking the food labels : Food Labelling
Things to go sparingly on: Sweets, oils, and other confectionary
We do love a treat, however it is important (espcially for diabetecs) to monitor this, and not to consume too much of these items. I also advise to go for the item with the lowest amount of fat/sugar, and try to limit the portion of these items. This is the reason that these items are small in regards to the portion of the eatwell guide.
Finally, as I briefly mentioned we should be consuming 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. Water helps us to regulate the system, keeps us fuller for longer and helps to reduce dehydration.
I hope these tips will help realise that having diabetes is not a death sentence, and you can live a long life if we choose a healthier lifestyle.