MyDoc Tuesday Tips: 3 pillars for managing your Diabetes for yourself and your family

According to the International Diabetes Federation, over 50% of type 2 diabetes is preventable. The 3 pillars for maintaining good blood sugar control are eating a healthy balanced diet, exercise and medication.

Eating Healthy Balanced Diet

Planning a healthy plate at every meal is the key to eating healthy. Recommended by Health Promotion Board, a healthy meal should consist of 1/4 plate of whole grains along with 1/4 plate of meat and other foods and 1/2 plate of vegetables along with fruit along with meals or as a mid-meal snack. Here is the range of healthy plate options that you can choose from:
my healthy plate guide
Source: HealthHub Singapore 

1. Vegetables

Eating a rainbow of vegetables provides you with a variety of vitamins and minerals along with fibre. At lunch and dinner, fill half your plate with vegetables such as Bok Choy, Mushrooms, Baby Bok Choy, Kai-Lan, Eggplant, Spinach, Broccoli, Cauliflower etc.

2. Meat, Tofu and Others
Meat, poultry, fish, tofu, beans, lentils, milk and milk products provide essential proteins for growth and repair and should fill 1/4 of your plate. Singapore is a foodie’s paradise and we have a wide variety of all these foods in different forms. Skinless chicken breast, boiled or poached eggs, beans, sprouts, lentils, prawns, white fish, salmon and tofu are healthier choices of protein. It is very important that they are cooked correctly. The best cooking methods are stir-frying, steaming, grilling, baking or boiling.

3. Cereals
Brown rice, quinoa, oats, high fibre bread, chapati from whole wheat flour are healthier than basmati rice, couscous, naan or prata or white bread or plain white rice made from refined wheat flour. Whole-grain foods are more nutrient-dense than refined or polished or processed food grains. 
Starchy vegetables such as potato, sweet potato, yam, corn, pumpkin and peas are also counted as cereals as they are higher in carbohydrates than the other vegetables listed above.

4. Fruits
Whole fruits such as papaya, apple, orange, guava, kiwi, dragon fruit, pear are richer in fibre than fruit juices. 3 oranges are required to make one glass of orange juice. The fibre in 1 glass of orange juice is much less than 1 orange and fibre helps to regulate blood sugar. Thus, fruit juices should be avoided.

Exercise

Always consult your doctor, dietitian and physiotherapist (if you have any injuries) before starting a new exercise regimen. The key to a sustainable exercise routine is to start slow and gradually build up the intensity. Monitor your blood sugar before during and after exercise. If you feel dizzy or weak, stop the exercise immediately, sit in a safe space and check your blood sugar. The effects of exercise last for 24 hours. You can experience low blood sugar before, during and after exercise. Keep a track of your blood sugar and contact your doctor if you experience frequent bouts of low blood sugar.

Medication

Oral Hypoglycaemic Agents (OHA) and Insulin are used to better manage blood sugar along with a healthy diet and exercise. Different OHAs and Insulin have varying modes of action. 
4 steps to know you are on track
1. Speak to your doctor or dietitian to understand your medication regimen and its impact on your blood sugar. 
2. Take medication in prescribed amounts and at the recommended time. 
3. Make sure the medication has not exceeded the expiry date. 
4. Sync your meals and exercises along with your medication time. 
If you still experience episodes of low and high blood sugar, even after following all the above steps, consult your doctor for a review immediately.
A three-pronged synergistic approach of a healthy diet, exercise and medication are vital for maintaining good blood sugar control. Reach out to our team of doctors and health coach at MyDoc to help you beat Diabetes. 

MyDoc healthcare team,
Claudia, dietician

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