- The disease is known to affect many organs—the blood vessels, the eyes, the kidneys and nerves. That’s why we tend to call it a multi-organs disease.
For the number of patients living with diabetes in Tanzania and the rest of the world, the big question now is how to live with it or rather, face it.
The disease is known to affect many organs—the blood vessels, the eyes, the kidneys and nerves. That’s why we tend to call it a multi-organs disease.
Right now, an estimated 9 per cent of adults aged 18 and above have diabetes globally. The disease contributed directly to 1.5 million of deaths about three years ago, data from the Word Health Organisation (WHO) show.
Yet, not many people in Tanzanian societies perceive the disease in the right way.
One aspect is when diabetic people suffer inability to control their blood sugar levels and this makes some to believe that a victim of diabetes cannot live a normal life. It’s not true.
Actually, maintaining a healthy diet and doing regular physical exercises can control their blood sugar levels by 50 per cent, it would help them minimize complications of diabetes.
Then, there are these myths about the foods for the diabetic patients. Some people believe that diabetic patients should eat proteins only. Others think that their food should be overcooked to reduce sugar.
Others discourage diabetic patients from some sweet fruits. Some have reached an extent of cooking the food for the diabetic patients separately from other family members.
When it comes to the food for a diabetic patient, here are the most important things to consider:
Eat three times a day and avoid skipping meals. Each meal should include carbohydrate food, for instance bread, porridge, chapati, potatoes, yams, or rice.
But, reduce the fat intake, example olive oil, groundnut oil. Eat more fruits and vegetables, aim for at least five portion per day and eat more beans. Eat at least two portions of oily fish a week.
Reduce salt intake to at least 6gm per day.
Be cautious with diabetic foods and sweeteners. They have low-calorie and sugar-free drinks useful for patients with diabetes. But these drinks are junks. They usually contain non-nutritive sweeteners.
Many ‘diabetic foods’ contain sorbitol which are expensive and high in calories, and may cause side-effects in the alimentary canal. As a result, these foods are not recommended as part of the diabetic diet.
Then, when it comes to drinking alcohol, this should be taken in moderation.
Stay safe and make informed healthy choices.