Understanding the food we eat is key to winning the fight against diabetes
UP UNTIL a few generations ago, Type 2 diabetes was something of a rarity. Now, it has got to crisis point, placing an enormous burden on the NHS. I’m not casting stones, but in the vast majority of cases, it is due to poor diet and a sedentary Travel.
Unfortunately, knowledge about nutrition is very poor in this country which is partly why we are in the situation we are in, yet a little knowledge can be life-changing.
That is why I have created a new type of nutrition school called the Sano School of Culinary Medicine, where anyone can learn how to use food as medicine and how to apply nutritional science in a practical way.
It is designed for anyone with a general interest in food and health. Understanding how food choices can support health and help prevent diseases such as diabetes is critical.
Even doctors and frontline health care professionals, who I believe should get a lot more dedicated training on nutrition at medical school, can better support patients to protect against disease with the latest evidence-based science.
So what can we do on a day-to-day basis to manage the condition or greatly reduce our risk of getting it? Here are a few little changes that will make a big difference to your overall health and wellbeing.
Increase your intake of the all-important omega-3 fatty acids
KNOW YOUR CARBS
Now, I’m not saying you should go and start on the Atkins diet (although that may not be that bad an idea for some people), but understanding what carbohydrates to choose and how much is of vital importance.
The number one thing to do is ditch the white stuff; white bread, white rice and white pasta. These refined varieties have the fibre removed so take little time to digest. This means they will liberate their sugar content rapidly, and that our blood sugar levels will rise aggressively, causing the large blood-sugar spikes we want to avoid.
The multigrain varieties keep their fibre content. This means they take longer to digest and liberate their sugar content much more slowly, drip-feeding blood sugar rather than carpet bombing it. You also need to understand how important portion control is with carbs.
The simple guideline I give to people is to cut your usual portions in half. If you have rice with meals, half your usual portion (as well as choosing brown). If you are having a sandwich, try an open variety (the filling placed on top of a single slice of bread). Make up the bulk of your meals with non-starchy vegetables such as leafy greens, spinach or broccoli and protein that will keep you feeling fuller for longer.
COMBINE YOUR FOOD TYPES
Don’t worry, I’m not talking about the weird dietary fad from the 80s, I’m referring to a little mental checklist for you when you are composing meals. At each meal first think about what kind of protein you’re going to have.
Ensure you choose a good quality protein source at each meal. Eggs, cheese, fi sh, poultry, meat, tofu, pulses and nuts; all these are wonderful protein sources. The next thing to ensure is that your meal has a good source of healthy fats. Oily fi sh, avocado and olive oil are all great choices.
When you compose a meal of smaller portions of healthy carbs, non-starchy vegetables, good quality protein and healthy fats, not only have you created a meal with superior nutritional density, you have created one that takes some time to digest. It is digested slowly and the fat sources slow gastric emptying.
The meal liberates its energy slowly and steadily. This ensures a gradual rise in blood sugar levels and a level of blood sugar that our body can easily manage and that doesn’t place an undue burden upon the insulin system.
Understanding what carbohydrates to choose and how much is of vital importance
INCREASE YOUR OMEGA-3S
One final tip that can take things that step further is increasing your intake of the all-important omega-3 fatty acids. These fats have a huge array of benefits to our health, from controlling inflammation to maintaining the structure and function of key components of our cells. It is the latter that is relevant here. Omega-3 fatty acids help to support the structure and function of insulin receptors – the structures that insulin binds to, to tell our cells to take up glucose.
However, don’t be taken in by the claims that eating a few chia seeds and flaxseeds will give you your omega-3. They contain a form called ALA that cannot be adequately converted by the body into the active EPA and DHA fatty acids.
Eating oily fish or taking a supplement will give you those important forms pre-formed. These three simple steps can significantly reduce your risk of developing diabetes or, if you have already been diagnosed, it will help you control your blood sugar levels which is essential with this deadly condition. And it all starts with a little bit of learning.
For more information on the Sano School of Culinary Medicine visit sanoschoolofculinarymedicine.com.
Source : EXPRESS