Welcome to the third in our “Eat Well” article series. On World Diabetes Day 2018, accredited practising dietitian Helen Jackson of Family Nutrition Services Australia (FNSA) tells us what to eat to help prevent type 2 diabetes.
With 280 Australians developing diabetes every day; raising awareness and educating people about diabetes is an important step to tackling the fastest growing chronic disease in the country.
According to Diabetes Australia, one Australian is diagnosed with diabetes every 5 minutes. That’s over 2 million Australians living with diabetes.
The good news is, awareness and early intervention can often prevent or at least delay type 2 diabetes.
Reduce your risks by making a few changes
Control your weight
Carrying weight around your middle (abdomen) causes the most damage to your health. Excess body fat stored in this area can cause insulin resistance. Your weight can be managed by actively thinking about the foods you eat, and the type and amount of activity you do.
Assess your diet
A healthy, balanced diet means including a variety of nutritious foods from each of the food groups every day:
- Eat plenty of vegetables (fresh or frozen)
- Include 2 pieces of fruit
- Include wholegrain breads and cereals, and/or high-fibre varieties
- Choose lean meats (remove all visible fat), poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, and legumes/beans
- Include milk, yoghurt, cheese and alternatives (mostly reduced-fat)
While the occasional treat can be part of a healthy diet, it is best to limit the treat foods such as cakes, biscuits, pastries, soft drinks, chocolate, ice creams, lollies and chips.
Do some exercise
In addition to helping you lose weight, exercise has specific benefits when it comes to diabetes. When you exercise there is less insulin needed to maintain blood glucose levels. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five days a week.
Drink less alcohol
Alcohol consumption can result in weight gain, an increase in blood pressure and a rise in your triglyceride levels. The Australian standards for alcohol suggest a maximum of 2 standard drinks per day for healthy adults, with 2 alcohol free days per week. If you’re serious about preventing diabetes, limiting your alcohol intake may be just what your body needs.
Delicious recipes to try…
Stand and Stuff Sweet Potatoes – Australian Sweet Potatoes