To commemorate the end of Diabetes Awareness Month, we at MiD want to give you a quick overview on everything you need to know.
This month entities have actively participated in spreading awareness about diabetes, since UAE ranked second worldwide in diabetes prevalence. Many initiatives were launched to help people understand what it’s all about, Ibn Battuta Mall promoted diabetes awareness through health-promoting activities throughout the mall. This took place for four days around the World Diabetes Day which was on 14th November 2012, and was the fourth consecutive year Ibn Battuta Mall contributed to the cause.
Further down the road in a different city, Novo Nordish, a healthcare company and Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi teamed up for the same cause. Brochures were distributed after catching people’s attention by lighting up Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi’s grid shell in blue to honour World Diabetes Day. Even Blossom Sweets, a popular bakery known for its customised pastries and cakes, commemorated the day with sugar free and healthy treats.
Saudi German Hospital, on the other hand stuck to a particular cause this month, they made sure to get across an important message about diabetes. Their campaign specified how diabetes causes blindness, a fact very few people are aware of. A common condition called diabetic retinopathy; it is the result of high blood sugar permanently damaging blood vessels in the eyes.
As UAE makes an effort to inform people, so does MiD. To ask a few questions about diabetes, we caught up with Deepti C. Bhatia, the Founder & Holistic Health Coach for Generation Nourished and contributor of noviplus.ae
1) Is there a diet that can help us avoid diabetes?
- Source of Stress: Engage in activities that are decompressing to the mind and body and eliminate common stressors such as smoking and alcohol.
- Exercise: Instead of strenuous exercises consider walking, swimming, dancing or yoga. These will help reduce body fat directly affecting your blood sugar level.
- Back to Nature: Increase fresh and whole food while eliminating processed sugar and packaged foods.
- Eliminate Fake Food: Avoid food that is marketed as natural, as it has added colours, chemicals and preservatives. Most importantly, avoid processed food that is touted as low calorie or low in sugar but may contain artificial sweeteners such as aspartame which is degenerative to the nervous system.
- Give Gratitude: Despite living in a hot desert, we have a year round supply of fruits and vegetables. And now with additional farmers markets and natural food stores such as the Down to Earth, Blue Planet Green People, Unifrutti – The Green League, and Greenheart Organic Farms starting to pop up, there is no excuse to not eat clean and healthy.
2) Please list a few early symptoms of diabetes.
Both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes have some common characteristics in their symptoms, including the following:
- High Blood Glucose
- Excessive Urination
- Excessive Thirst and Hunger
- Fatigue and Lethargy
- Blurry Vision
- Frequent Infections
3) Is it true that once diagnosed we must cut down on sugar completely?
Our body breaks down all sugar into glucose. It is important to know that carbohydrates such as bread, rice, flour, vegetables and fruits are also sugars that eventually breakdown into glucose. It would be wise for those who suffer from any type or form of blood sugar imbalance or have family history to take the responsibility to self-educate in discerning the quality and source of sugar.
Obvious sources of sugar that need to be eliminated are not limited to table sugar or candy, but also include the processed or refined kinds that are no longer in their natural state or form. White rice, white flour, white pasta, soda, chocolates, and fruit juices, are all refined to the point that they are void of fibre as well as naturally occurring vitamins and enzymes.
Carbohydrates in their natural state such as fibrous vegetables, whole grains like brown rice and quinoa are safe and effective sources of energy. This fibre present in whole carbohydrates plays a key role in stabilizing blood sugar levels, increasing satiety levels, as well as flushing out excess hormones from the body. In my practice, committed clients see major improvements by dropping all forms of sugar from their diet including honey, maple syrup, molasses, jaggery as well as fruits that are high on the glycemic index.
4) Please describe a well-balanced diet to keep our blood sugar level in order.
Type 2 diabetes does not have to be a life sentence. It is easy to take a pill but in less severe cases or for prevention, shifting to healthier diet and lifestyle is a better shortcut for the long-term. Switch to a well-balanced diet composed of whole grains such as brown rice and oatmeal, small amounts of good quality fats such as nuts and extra virgin olive oil and generous servings of vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, cabbage, peppers, radishes and protein such as beans, lentils etc., This will not only ensure stable blood sugar levels but also improve sleep and increase you energy levels.