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Healthy Eating Tips to Prevent Diabetes

As the old saying goes, “An ounce-of prevention is better than a pound of cure”. Prevention is the best cure for any disease, especially diabetes, as lots of things can be done to prevent or delay the onset of the disease. Good diet is one of the most important components of your diabetes prevention plan. Knowing what and when to eat, as well as what to avoid is very important.

Having diabetes does not mean being stuck on a very strict, boring or tasteless diet. It also doesn’t mean eating food that is different from what the rest of the family eats. Choosing the right food can promote better health habits for the entire family. Following simple guidelines for healthy eating, like the Food Pyramid Guide for example, can be of help.

  • Eat little of fats, oils and salt
  • Compute or count your sugar or calorie intake
  • Eat some fish, poultry, dry beans, nuts, eggs, lean meats and low-fat dairy products.
  • Cook and prepare food using less fats and oils, like boiled, grilled, baked and steamed food. You can also prepare food via the traditional Filipino ways like pangat (cooked with tomatoes) and poksiw (with vinegar).
  • Eat more green leafy vegetables like kangkong, saluyot, malunggay, kamote tops which are very rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber.
  • Limit your fruit intake to at least three servings per day and choose fresh ones, which have simple sugar that are readily absorbed and used by the body.
  • Eat most of whole grains (wheat bread) and cereals, brown rice (polished or processed white rice has no fiber and very little vitamins) corn, and root crops like camote and cassava.

In developing a meal plan seek the advice of a Nutritionist-Dietitian, there are lots of them who can help you.The Nutritionists-Dietitians’ Association of the Philippines (NDAP) is an accredited professional organization of qualified and expert dietitians who can help you plan your diet.

With the help of a Nutritionist-Dietitian, you can plan a diet that will suit your personal needs, likes and dislikes and adhere to your personal and medical needs. Undergo extensive diet counseling if you must. Avoid skipping meals, eat on time, and eat small frequent meals. Intake of empty nutrients like high calorie foods and drinks such as soft drinks, ice cold juices, chips, pizza, and other “junk” food give you very high sodium and calories. Home cooked meals are more nutritious. Aside from good, healthy diet, there are other things that you can do to prevent diabetes.Take heed of the following:

  • Drink lots of water – This is especially important during the summer, as our body needs to rehydrate due to the hot weather. Other kinds of fluids that are good for diabetics are clear soups and unsweetened fruit juices.
  • Regular exercise and weight loss – At least 30 minutes of regular daily exercise will give a moderate weight loss of five to seven percent body weight (10 to 15 pounds).Weight loss and exercise reduces a person’s risk of developing diabetes by improving the body’s ability to use insulin and manage glucose (blood sugar). Exercise also reduces the risk of heart conditions, stroke, some forms of cancer, and many other health problems.
  • Live and active lifestyle – Behavior and lifestyle modifications are the best anchor to prevent diabetes.  Avoid too much stress, smoking and alcohol.
  • Pop that pill – If diet, exercise and lifestyle changes do not work, medication is a must.With diabetes just starting, a properly guided diet plan, plus exercise and lifestyle change would mean a lot. Medication will be the last option to take but this does not mean that when you start taking medications, you disregard the other options (diet, exercise and lifestyle modification). All of these should go hand in hand in order to best prevent and manage diabetes.

Being diabetic means that you need to take care of yourself, not only when your blood sugar is high. Diabetes is a lifetime disease but it can be controlled.All you need to do is to maintain good health in order to prevent further complications of the disease. Effective blood sugar control and following a diabetes prevention plan will go a long way to ensure a better quality of life.

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