The scary truth about diabetes is that half the number of people living with diabetes are currently unaware. November is diabetes awareness month and today, the 14th of November, is World Diabetes Day. This year’s theme is “Eyes on Diabetes” with the intention of promoting more screening and encouraging those living with diabetes to monitor their blood glucose levels regularly. Both of these efforts will result in a reduced incidence of the long term complications, namely blindness, kidney failure and nerve damage. Screening for diabetes is a simple finger prick test and is an important check to do at least annually.
Dietary intake plays a big role in both the prevention and management of diabetes. A person’s diet is simply their habitual food intake with the majority of food choices either offering nutrient benefit or not. An optimal nutrient intake, and therefore an habitual intake of nutrient rich foods, is essential for health promotion. Health promotion should be a priority goal for every person, whether diabetic or not.
Living a healthy lifestyle and eating a nutritionally complete diet is important for achieving and maintaining optimal blood glucose control and ultimately quality of life. As excess abdominal weight is a major contributing factor to the development of type 2 diabetes, the same eating guidelines will apply to both the management and prevention thereof. Simply put, preventing this disease requires us to eat and live as though we are diabetic, without the medication and daily finger pricks. A conscious decision to apply health management rules or practice health management choices is therefore the key to consistent success.
10 health management rules to adopt today:
- Include a source of fibre in every meal or snack
- Eat colourful vegetables daily
- Do not eat fast food or sugar containing foods by yourself
- Eat as many meals together as a family as possible
- Trim the visible fat off meat and chicken, before cooking
- Avoid deep fried foods
- Snack on fruit rather than crisps or biscuits
- Drink water rather than juice
- Aim to do 150 minutes of exercise per week
- Do not substitute a meal with dessert, rather eat both
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