Wed | Dec 7, 2016

Simple tips to manage and help prevent diabetes

Published:Wednesday | November 19, 2014 | 12:00 AM

According to the World Health Organization, 347 million people worldwide have diabetes. In 2012, an estimated 1.5 million deaths were directly caused by diabetes.

Given the statistics, it is no surprise that diabetes is a leading cause of death across the world, including Jamaica. Fortunately, there are concrete steps you can take to control the disease, say experts.

"Medication alone can't solve diabetes. The solution must include healthier eating and living," noted Dr Andy Baldwin, a board-certified family physician and ambassador for Nutrisystem, a weight-loss programme that has a specific plan designed for diabetes management.

No matter what your health status is now, committing to a healthier lifestyle can help you manage diabetes or prevent the onset in coming years.

Here, Baldwin is offering some suggestions for getting started.

GETTING STARTED

n To avoid overeating, don't put serving bowls on the table. Fill plates in the kitchen and leave extras and leftovers far away. Instead, keep vegetables or a salad on the table to supplement meals. Include carrots, celery, cucumber, pepper slices and cherry tomatoes. Eat as many as you like rather than getting seconds of the main course.

n Cinnamon has been shown to help improve blood-sugar levels. Fill an empty salt shaker with the spice and leave it on the table. Shake a little on meat, potatoes, vegetables for the health benefits and an added boost of flavour.

n Designate one chair at your table as your 'eating chair'. Only eat if you are sitting in it - nowhere else.

n Fast food can be calorie dense and low on nutrition. Avoid going overboard by limiting your intake. That means either eating a kid's meal or picking a healthier, sometimes more expensive item from the menu, such as a salad or grilled chicken sandwich.

n If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, it's time to make a change. Set quotas for TV viewing. For example, one hour of news and one hour of entertainment - or, stay active while watching television by doing squats, crunches, lifting small weights or stretching. Get outdoors for at least 15 minutes a day - rain or shine! Walk, bike, garden, clean or play a game, it doesn't matter, as long as you are moving.

n A structured meal plan and nutrition-rich foods can help you manage diabetes and weight issues without needing to count calories, carbs or points. Look for a programme that meets the nutritional guidelines of the Diabetes Association, and that offers personal support in the form of certified diabetes educators, dietitians, food and glucose trackers, and an online support community.

For example, Nutrisystem D is clinically proven to help people with Type Two diabetes lose weight and lower their A1c, offering meals that contain the right balance of low glycaemic carbs, fats, high protein. Meals are also fibre rich to ensure participants feel full.

Healthy habits can benefit your overall health, as well as reduce your risk for complications from diabetes.