The prevalence of diet-related chronic disease such as obesity, diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular diseases have been on the rise during the last few decades. It is now widely accepted that the major causes of these lifestyle-related diseases are related to unhealthy eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle.
Healthy eating helps you and your family gain the right nutrition for the body while preventing nutritional deficiencies and diet related chronic diseases.
Learn more about dietary guidelines for healthy eating and diet-related diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and hypertension in this article.
Dietary guidelines for diabetes mellitus
World Health Organisation defines diabetes as a chronic, metabolic disease which is characterised by elevated levels of blood glucose or blood sugar. Over time, this leads to serious damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes in adults. It occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin or insufficient insulin is produced by the body.
Below are the recommended dietary guidelines for diabetes control:
- Regulate mealtimes
- Distribute and portion carbohydrates intake throughout the day with emphasis on complex carbohydrates
- Avoid refined sugar such as table sugar, honey, condensed milk, soft drinks, etc
- Avoid fruit juices and sweet beverages
- Increase fibre intake by choosing wholegrain food and vegetables
- Choose low fat food products
Dietary guidelines for lipid lowering
When an individual has abnormal levels of lipids or fats in the blood, which includes elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, fatty acids (triglycerides) or both, this condition is known as hyperlipidemia or hypercholesterolaemia.
In layman term, this condition is known as high cholesterol. The build-up of LDLs and triglycerides are associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis, which is the accumulation of plaque in the arteries. Over time, this condition leads to serious health consequences such as heart diseases and stroke.
Below are the recommended dietary guidelines for lipid lowering:
- Avoid food high in dietary cholesterol such as internal organ meat (kidney, liver, lungs)
- Limit consumption of red meat such as beef, mutton, and lamb
- Reduce seafood such as crabs, squids, and shellfish
- Discard fatty part of meats and chicken skin
- Skim off the top layer of fats in soup by chilling the soup first
- Replace coconut milk with low fat milk
- Increase dietary fibre, especially soluble fibre such as oats, brown rice, wholemeal bread, legumes, lentils, fruits, and vegetables
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Choose healthier methods of cooking which include braising, grilling, poaching, steaming, roasting, stewing, baking, and stir-frying with minimum oil
Dietary guidelines for hypertension
Sodium is naturally present in food. Sodium is also added during processing or cooking, usually in the form of table salt or monosodium glutamate, both of which are high sodium. Salt or sodium chloride is nearly half sodium (40%).
Excessive sodium intake is associated with the incidence of high blood pressure or hypertension.
Below are the recommended dietary guidelines to reduce sodium intake for hypertension control:
- Choose fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and unprocessed grains because they are generally low in sodium
- Experiment with spices and herbs for seasoning instead of salt
- Use a small amount of salt in cooking
- Avoid sprinkling extra salt in food
- Limit consumption of highly salted foods and condiments such as soya sauce and oyster sauce
Importance of family roles in healthy food preparation
Parents and caregivers play an important role in ensuring the ones whom they are caring for receive healthy and nutritious food.
Below are some dietary tips during food preparation:
- Choose family favourite dishes and modify the recipes
- Serve dishes that are simple to prepare yet attractive and appetising
- Prepare dishes that combine a variety of food types
- Use cooking methods that preserve the natural colour and flavour of the food
- Always serve food that is freshly prepared
- Emphasise the importance of eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner
- Control food portion to avoid overeating
- Serve safe and clean food and beverages
Make an appointment for health screening at Gleneagles Hospitals
Regular health screenings help with early detection so that you can effectively manage the symptoms of diet-related diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and hypertension to avoid further complications.
To make an appointment for health screening, please contact the health screening centre at the Gleneagles Hospital nearest to you.