Thursday is World Diabetes Day, a day that aims to increase awareness of the effects of diabetes and the complications caused by the disease.
With the help of Nhluvuko Ngobeni who is a dietitian, we looked at ways you can go about cooking for a person who is diabetic, and below is what he said.
Starchy foods are things like potatoes, rice, pasta, pap, and bread. They all contain carbohydrates, which are broken down into glucose and used by our cells as fuel.
The problem with some starchy foods is that it can raise blood glucose levels quickly. There are some better options for starchy foods that one can cook for diabetic people, one that affects blood glucose levels more slowly like wholegrain bread, whole wheat pasta, oats, brown rice and brown pap.
These are high in fibre, which helps the digestive system working well and delays gastric emptying, and furthermore, the whole grains help to protect the heart.
Protein foods like beans, nuts, eggs, meat, and fish
Meat and fish are high in protein, which helps to keep your muscles healthy. But a healthy diet means less red and processed meat (ham, Vienna's, sausages) since they have been linked to cancer and heart disease. And remember to remove or cut the visible fat in the meat before cooking the food for a diabetic person.
Dairy foods and alternatives
Milk, cheese, and yoghurt have lots of calcium and protein, which is good for one's bones, teeth and muscles. But some dairy foods are high in fat, particularly saturated fat so as a result, it is advisable to choose low fat or fat-free alternatives for a diabetic person.
Such as low-fat milk or fat-free milk, low fat or fat-free yoghurt.
Oil and spread
We need some fat in our diet but we need less saturated fat. This is because some saturated fats can increase cholesterol in the blood in the blood, increasing the risk of heart diseases and stroke.
The healthier saturated fat foods that can be used to cook for the diabetic patient include olive oil, vegetable oil, and spreads made from these oils and nut butter.
Food high in fat, salt, and sugar
As a diabetic person, you don’t need any of these as part of a healthy diet. The less often the better. These foods include biscuits, crisps, chocolate, cakes, butter, and sugary drinks.
These sugary foods and drinks are high in energy and raise blood sugar levels, so go for diet light or low energy alternatives. Instead of using salt when cooking the food you can substitute with herbs such as parsley, paprika, pepper, garlic, onion, rosemary, ginger, oregano, bay leaves to flavour the food. In case case one decides to put salt do not take more than one teaspoon of salt a day.
Eating lots of salt can increase your risk of high blood pressure, which in turn increases the risk of heart diseases and stroke. And when one has diabetes you’re already more at risk of all of these conditions.