Let's be honest... most of us bury our heads in the sand when it comes to our health, so this week is National Diabetes Week in Australia. This year the focus is on raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of both Type 1 and 2 diabetes to encourage people to get tested and seek help sooner rather than later.
85-90% of people that have Diabetes, have type 2 Diabetes and nutrition plays an integral role in prevention and management.
Here are some tips to reduce your risk:
· Choose whole grains Often carbohydrate foods get a bad 'wrap' (See what we did there..) – however they contain important nutrients for our body. Choosing wholegrain varieties (eg: multigrain bread, oats, wholemeal crisp breads, wholemeal pasta) rather than more refined choices (eg: white bread) will support healthy digestion, and give you more sustained energy levels instead of a big spike and crash. However we also know now that we need to reduce our total glycaemic load, as we naturally eat too much at any one time of these foods.
· Get 5 serves of non-starchy vegetables per day Vegetables provide us with a generous dose of fibre and also have a low energy density (ie. Low in calories). Fibre keeps us feeling fuller for longer and helps stabilise our energy levels, so veggies are a great way to keep your calories in check but tummy full! Aim to fill half your plate at lunch and dinner with a rainbow of vegetables.
· Balance your meals with protein Protein has many important roles in the body. From a blood sugar management perspective, it’s especially great at slowing the absorption of carbohydrate foods (ie: helps to lower the “glycaemic index”) which also means your meal will keep you fuelled for longer. Incorporate yoghurt or eggs at breakfast time, and a portion of meat, chicken, fish, tofu or legumes at lunch and dinner.
· Limit “discretionary foods” Limiting “nutrient poor”, calorie dense foods can help reduce risk of type 2 diabetes. Foods such as confectionary, processed meats, deep-fried foods and pastries, soft drinks and alcohol often contain no essential nutrients needed for healthy living. The high salt, sugar and saturated fat content of these foods are attributed to an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.
I don't know about you... But I love a vino on a Sunday afternoon with a few nibbles, but it is all about the total amount we consume.
If you’re over 40 years old, consider having a chat with your GP at your next visit to run some precautionary tests.