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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Beat diabetes: Take control of your diet!

  • Foods that are rich in fibre but low in glycaemic index are the best choices to gain control over diabetes
Diabetes is currently a common condition that people in the UAE have long been battling, and the alarming rates of the disease has led to the establishment of awareness campaigns and government initiatives that encourage people to take better control of their lives.

The World Diabetes Day, initiated by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), is putting emphasis on screening to reduce the risk of complications in order to manage the disease better, under the theme, Eyes on Diabetes.

Held on November 14, the day gathers residents, medical professionals and organisations in a lively environment packed with activities for all ages, health-conscious food, as well as complimentary medical tests to promote the fight against diabetes.Activities often include walkathons and light exercise drills to encourage residents to get into the groove of fitness.

Prevention is better than cure, goes the saying, but for those already diagnosed with diabetes can continue to live the lifestyle they've always desired. Slight adjustments in daily routine, notably watching what you eat, could do wonders.

Taking into consideration the types of food consumed is essential. The composition of a meal can either cause blood glucose to skyrocket, which could lead to severe complications, or keep it in check.

Knowing the glycaemic index (GI) of food helps patients establish a healthy diet with a good balance of nutrients and vitamins. The GI determines the effect of certain ingredients on blood sugar, i.e., how high it raises sugar levels and how well it is absorbed into the body.

Foods that are rich in fibre but low in glycaemic index (see box) are usually the best choices to gain control over diabetes. This further ensures that you are able to enjoy your favourite dishes, without the need to compromise on taste, quality and flavour.

Besides reducing carbohydrates, certain ingredients have been found to be especially beneficial for those suffering from diabetes. Among these are apple cider vinegar, avocado, black beans, chamomile tea and cinnamon. According to research, these ingredients have had a positive effect on insulin and sugar levels, bringing relief to patients.

Additionally, to control diabetes, it is ideally best to avoid foods that are rich in processed carbohydrates such as pancakes, snack chips, most breakfast cereals, crackers, pretzels, bagels and flour tortillas; sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, sports drinks, lemonade and iced tea; and desserts that are rich in sugar or flour such as cakes, pastries, cookies and pies, among others.

Interestingly, the advent of technology is making it possible to process and modify popular ingredients, such as noodles and palm oil, with low glycaemic values. These innovations retain the familiar texture and flavour while giving diabetics a chance to continue consuming their favourite dishes.

Foods that havea low GI rating of 55 or below include:

. Most fruits such as plums, peaches, oranges, papayas, watermelon, apples, mangoes, pineapples and pears.
. Vegetables such as sweet potato, yam, corn and carrots.
. Legumes such as lentils, lima beans, split peas, chana dal and chickpeas and all types of beans.
. Dairy food such as cheese, yoghurt, milk, almond milk, soymilk and tofu.
. Wholegrain products such as basmati rice, rice noodles, oatmeal, wheat bread, and quinoa.

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