Managing diabetes through diet


Mr Linus Nwokoro, an Abuja based businessman, was diagnosed of diabetes two years ago and was placed on drug therapy by his doctor. He also consulted a dietician who recommended appropriate diet for him.

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“The dietician asked me questions which I answered; and she brought out a  cup and gave me  measurement of food that I should be taking and  placed me on diet,’’ he said.a

Nwokoro said while he was on the new diet, he continued with his drug therapy, adding that he later stopped taking the drugs while continuing with his diet.

“I went back for test and the result showed that I had been cured; but I am still on diet,’’ he said.

Mrs Tina Afe, a civil servant who lives in Abuja, said she had been managing diabetes with the help of her doctor and a dietician.

She said that she takes her drugs as prescribed which helped her to maintain a healthy lifestyle and cope with the ailment.

Afe said that the “home remedy’’ which she was taught by her dietician was really working.

“But I make sure that I also visit my doctor whenever the need arises,’’ she stressed.

The testimonies of Nwokoro and Afe are indications that diabetes is curable with correct medication and diet.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar.

Experts say that uncontrolled diabetes, over time, could leads to serious damage to many of the body’s systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels.

Records from the World Health Organisation show that 366 million people died of diabetes in 2011.

The disease was projected to kill 552 million people by 2030, making it the seventh leading cause of death.

It was to raise awareness on the havoc of diabetes that Nov.14 of every year was declared World Diabetes Day (WDD).

“Diabetes Education and Prevention,’’ is the WDD theme for the period 2009 to 2013

Hajiya Jummai Abdul, a dietician at the Wuse General Hospital, Abuja, said that garden egg and cucumber are the best snacks for diabetic patients.

“Patients should take all classes of nutrients, including carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and vegetables, such as pumpkin, spinach and steamed cabbage, ’’ she said.

She, however, warned that patients should be mindful of the quantity they take.

“The quantity of food to be taken by a patient depends on the Body Mass Index (IBM) of an individual and the blood sugar level.’’

Abdul said that there should be an interval of four to five hours between each meal.

“If the patient is hungry, he should go for garden eggs and cucumber which serve as the best snacks for him.

“Patients should have their breakfast at least from 7.00 a.m. to 8.00 a. m., lunch at 1.00 p.m. and dinner at 7.00 p.m.,’’ she said.

Abdul warned patients against the consumption of pastries, alcoholic and soft drinks, as well as fatty, sugary and fried foods.

She listed other foods not good for diabetics to include sweet fruits, sweet confectioneries and pepper soup.

Abdul recommended a little quantity of unripe paw-paw and grape which, she noted, cannot increase patient’s blood sugar level.

She said that treatment duration vary from individual to individual, adding that patients’ health condition would improve at least in six months if properly managed.

Dr Nana Chidi-Emmanuel, Director, Operations and Programmes, Education Development Foundation for Excellence, a non-governmental organisation, said that moderate weight loss could reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

According to her, increasing consumption of unhealthy diet posed risks to Type 2 diabetics.

“Type 2 diabetes is a disorder characterised by high blood glucose in the context of insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency.’’

Chidi-Emmanuel said that diabetes was on the increase because the rate of overweighed and obsessed persons had also increased.

The director said that some individuals, including overweighed, obsessed and women who have diabetes in pregnancy, were more at risk.

She said that people with high blood pressure or high cholesterol and over 45-years-old were also at risk.

“Regular physical activity would help to reduce fat deposits in the heart, liver and the abdomen of people with Type 2 diabetes,’’ the director added.

Chidi-Emmanuel recommended the consumption of healthy foods, less fat and more fibres like fruits and vegetables, whole grain and small amount of bread.

She, however, said that Type 2 diabetes accounted for about 95 per cent of diagnosed diabetes in adults.

“Several studies had shown that healthy eating and regular physical activity with prescribed medication could help control health complications in Type 2 diabetes,’’ the director noted.

Although experts have said that diabetes is a leading cause of death, they also recommended that proper diet could help reduce deaths from the disease. Governments and other stakeholders should, therefore, mount intense public enlightenment to educate the public, especially diabetics on the need to consume appropriate diets. (NANFeatures)

** If used, please credit the writer as well as News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)


Babatunde Akinsola
Babatunde Akinsola
Babatunde Akinsola is aNaija247news' Southwest editor. He's based in Lagos and writes on the Yoruba Nation political issues, news and investigative reports

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