BYMONIKA SETH/ AL RAFFAH HOSPITAL
Diet has changed a lot in the last 100 years. Today's typical diet will not only make you overweight but its lack of fibre rich carbohydrates can make you feel hungry soon after eating. Worst of all it can put you at risk for diabetes and heart disease both which can be easily prevented.
Diabetes has become an epidemic in modern society and if you have type-2 diabetes, your body probably makes enough insulin but has 'forgotten' how to use it. Your cells have become resistant to insulin so the glucose from the food you eat build up in your blood instead of nourishing your cells and high blood sugar levels can bring an avalanche of problems including high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol, etc.
If you want to avoid being the next victim of diabetes, you will have to rethink your diet. Even if you already have diabetes, a sensible diet can keep you from developing more health problems. Just make sure you check with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or exercise programme.
Good nutrition to beat diabetes
The best diabetic diet is nothing but a sensible diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, lean poultry, and fish. Stay away from sugar, saturated fat and high cholesterol foods and eat small frequent meals throughout the day. Although these guidelines apply to diabetics, they are also appropriate if you want to avoid this disease. Focus on getting these diabetes-fighting nutrients into your diet:
Fibre: Many experts believe that soluble fibre, like that found in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates etc., is your best bet for controlling your glucose levels and weight. Fibre helps prevents diabetes because it slows down the process of converting carbohydrates into glucose. Also if you eat a high fibre carbohydrate, your body will respond with less insulin than it would if you eat a low fibre food and this is better for your overall health because high insulin levels could lead to weight gain and high blood pressure, among other health problems.
Omega-3 fatty acids: Most of the oils used today are high in omega-6 fatty acids which are also essential for good health, but if eaten without omega-3 fats, your immune system can start to break down. You need omega-3 fats to process insulin; without them, you can run the risk of not using your insulin properly and insulin resistance is often the first stop on the road to diabetes. You can find omega-3s in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, along with walnuts and flaxseed and canola oil which has a good blend of both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Chromium: It helps insulin move glucose out of your blood stream and into your cells. If you are at a risk of diabetes, get a healthy amount of chromium through foods like seafood, mushrooms, whole grains, asparagus, nuts, etc.
Magnesium: To keep your insulin levels on track, eat magnesium rich foods like beans, broccoli, shellfish, nuts, skim milk, etc.
Zinc: Lower levels of zinc may disturb your normal blood sugar levels so eating foods rich in zinc like shellfish, lima beans, etc., is a great idea.
Vitamin E: Researchers have found that low levels of vitamin E increase your risk of developing diabetes. Vegetable oils like safflower, canola, corn oils, etc.; wheat germ, sunflower seeds, etc., are good sources of vitamin E.