ON THE FRONTLINE IN THE FIGHT AGAINST DIABETES
November is National Diabetes Month, a time when attention is focused on diabetes, how it impacts people’s lives and how to lower the risk of getting it. Diabetes is a long-term condition where a person has high blood glucose (blood sugar) either because the body does not respond properly to insulin or because the insulin production is inadequate. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows your body to use sugar (glucose) that comes from carbohydrates in the food that we eat for energy or to store glucose for future use.
Gert Coetzee, Pharmacist and Diet pioneer who founded The Diet Everyone Talks About says, “diabetes is complex and complicated but here is a simple definition of the disease. There are two types of diabetes, type 1 diabetes where the body does not produce insulin at all and type 2 diabetes where the body does not respond well to insulin and eventually does not produce enough insulin for the body to function well. Type 1 diabetes patients need to be monitored, take insulin and can lead normal, healthy lives if they have a nutritious eating plan as well as exercise regularly. If you have type 2 diabetes, you need to eat healthy, be physically active, take oral medication and/or insulin to control blood glucose levels as this seems to be a lifestyle related disease.”
Eating the wrong types of food, being physically inactive and being overweight all contribute to the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Overweight people have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those with a healthy body weight. Symptoms of type 2 diabetes develop slowly, over a period of years and can be so mild that you won’t notice them. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes however can start developing within a shorter period.
Symptoms of diabetes include: increased hunger, numbness and tingling of feet, sores that do not heal, unexplained weight loss, blurred vision, fatigue, increased hunger, increased thirst and urination.
The following factors can increase your chances of developing type 2 diabetes:
- A family history of diabetes
- Physical inactivity
- A history of heart diseaseor stroke
- High blood pressure
- Being 45 years old and older
- High cholesterol
“Adopting a healthy lifestyle can help prevent diabetes and is critical to managing the disease,” says Coetzee. Below he lists some hints and tips that can help you reduce your risks of diabetes:
Healthy food choices
Pick food that is low in sugar, fats and refined carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains and lean meats such as chicken and fish. Another important thing when it comes to food is portion control – eat the right amount of food for a healthy diet. By managing your weight through proper nutrition can help prevent diabetes or minimise its impact on your body.
Check your blood glucose
By checking your blood glucose levels, you can become aware of and irregularities and will be able to see problems before they get out of hand.
Physical inactivity can increase the risks of diabetes. Do exercises that make the heart work such as going for a walk, cycling and jogging. Exercising will help you lose body fat, lowers blood pressure, improves blood flow and controls your blood sugar.
Drink a lot of water
Water is by far the best beverage that you can drink. What’s more beneficial is that water helps you avoid consuming beverages that are high in preservatives and sugar. Sugary beverages such as fizzy drinks have been liked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
Excess visceral fat promotes inflammation and insulin resistance which increases the risk of diabetes. Carrying excess weight, particularly in the abdominal area increases the risks of getting diabetes.
Here is a quick, easy and delicious recipe for ‘Fish On A Stick’ that you can try as a tasty snack for the whole family. Fish is great for people living with diabetes.
Portions: 8 sosaties
Prep time: 40 min
CHD: 2 g per portion
kJ: 750 kJ
1: 2 kg: Kingclip (or any firm fish), cubed
60 ml: Butter / olive oil (for frying)
50 ml Fresh lemon juice
50 ml Freshly chopped parsley
To taste: Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1: Pineapple, cubed
8: Button mushrooms, halved, cooked in microwave for 4 minutes
1: Cucumber, sliced / 4 gherkins, sliced lettuce / spinach leaves
- Gently fry the kingklip in the butter till cooked.
- Mix the rest of the ingredients, pour over the fish and marinate overnight.
- Thread fish onto skewers alternately with optional items if desired.
- Serve cold.
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