Diabetes is a chronic illness that affects 10.5% of Singapore’s population which is higher than the world average of 8.8 %. There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. What is the difference?
Diabetes Type 1: People with type 1 diabetes do not produce insulin. (Source)
Diabetes Type 2: People with type 2 diabetes produce insulin but do not respond well to it. (Source)
Now it seems more clearer why this article needed to be written during the diabetes awareness month. With Singapore’s population affected by diabetes seeming to increase steadily, we need to question ourselves on what we know about this chronic condition. It is more important if you have not been affected yet. Why? Because, only that will help you to take active measures in preventing it from affecting you. Maybe it is the genetic factors or environmental conditions which are sometimes unavoidable but there is always a way to reduce the impact of other factors so you can stay healthy.
There are a few steps that may be easy to implement and some which are challenging considering that these days, we are always on the move. From school kids to working adults and the old population, your area of challenge will be different. Here I am going to put down a few measures that can be adopted in everyday life to be safe than sorry.
1. Control your Weight and Reduce Excess Weight
Actively monitoring your weight can be the key to maintaining a good body mass. Excess weight is the single most important cause of type 2 diabetes. Losing 7-10% of your current weight can cut your chances of developing type 2 diabetes in half. (Harvard). If you are wondering how to lose that extra weight, check out this link to understand how you can lose weight the healthy way: https://www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/224/lose_weight_healthy_way
Choose “Lose Weight” and find healthy recipes in YoRipe app. Get the app here.
2. Get More Physical Activity
Research shows that aerobic exercise and resistance training can help control diabetes. The greatest benefit comes from a fitness program that includes both. Get started Type 2 diabetes makes you unable to use the insulin. Exercising more can improve the body’s ability to absorb the glucose and insulin better as your body uses it up during physical activity. Insulin signals the liver, muscles and fat cells to use up the glucose and since glucose is really required you will actually end up making the insulin respond. Physical activity also helps you to manage weight, makes you feel good, keeps your heart and bones healthy. Above all, it keeps diseases away. (source). Join the various physical activity programmes organised by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) today to begin your journey towards an active lifestyle!
3. Make Changes in your Diet (We’re here to help!)
For this part, don’t worry! We got you covered. Yoripe’s personalised recipe is there to help you whatever be the changes that you wish to incorporate into your diet. Here are some ways you can make an impact:
- GO FOR WHOLE GRAINS: There is evidence that foods rich in whole grains reduce the risk and those rich in processed carbohydrates increase the risk (source). As we all know the bran and fibre in the whole grain make it difficult for the digestive enzymes to break the starch into glucose, thus delaying the time and reducing the blood sugar level.(HealthHub)
- SKIP SUGARY DRINKS AND TAKE WATER AS YOUR PRIMARY BEVERAGE: It is not new that fruit juices and processed drinks are loaded with sugar. Why do you want to take something loaded with sugar, increase your blood glucose level but get no reward for the body? (except the taste). Drink lots of water and occasional tea/coffee if needed. To feel fuller and stay slimmer, replace sweetened drinks with water and also drink a glass of water before meals. Drinking water improves blood circulation and prevents muscle cramps so you can engage in regular physical activity and stay healthy. In Singapore’s hot and humid climate, it is important to keep yourself well-hydrated (HealthHub). Research shows that water has the ability to control blood sugar level better and make the body respond to insulin better.(source)
- REDUCE MEAT AND GO MORE PLANT BASED: The evidence is growing that eating red meat and processed meat increases risk of type 2 diabetes. Processed red meat is especially bad for health. It is believed that the preservatives, additives and chemicals added harms your pancreas (the organ which produces insulin) and increases insulin resistance. (HealthHub)
You can also use Health Hub’s My healthy plate to see create your balanced and healthy meal!
4. Quit Smoking and Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Smoking worsens the narrowing of blood vessels, reducing blood flow to many organs which can lead to serious complications. Alcohol interferes with the meal plan and blood glucose control. Alcoholic drinks are a source of high calories. Regular binge drinking adds inches to your belly and increases your risk of diabetes and heart diseases. (HealthHub)
There maybe many other ways you can change your lifestyle but these are the few most important. Please be aware of the surroundings and potential risk factors, they will greatly help. Consult your doctor if you face any of the symptoms of diabetes are seen. Reducing stress and leading a healthy and happy life can help you not just with the prevention of diabetes but various other diseases which are prevalent. Treat your body the way you want it to treat you! You can also take a 2 minutes free online screening test from Health Hub to assess your risk of diabetes. Know more on diabetes detection and how you can B.E.A.T diabetes too at https://www.healthhub.sg/programmes/87/diabetes-mellitus.
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