Here are some pointers on festive feasting for people with diabetes or high blood pressure.
1. If you have diabetes, watch your carb intake
Among the many nutrients in food, carbohydrates have the greatest and most immediate impact on your blood glucose level.
This is because carbohydrates are digested to form glucose (sugar), which is then absorbed into the bloodstream.
As half of our daily calorie intake should come from carbohydrates, you should not avoid rice.
Focus instead on improving the quality of your carbohydrate intake and aim to partially replace refined white rice with wholegrains.
Wholegrains contain fibre, vitamins and minerals and they help to regulate blood glucose levels. Start by replacing 20 per cent of a typical bowl of white rice with brown rice to manage diabetes.
Apart from wholegrains, go for fibre-rich starches such as vegetables, fruit and beans for a well- balanced diet. They are usually nutrient-dense and will also help with blood glucose control.
As it takes the body at least two hours after a meal to bring your sugar level back to the pre-meal level, try to space out your meals and snack times.
However, you should not eat so infrequently that your blood glucose drops below the normal level.
Common symptoms of low blood glucose include tiredness, headache and irritability.
Many festive food and beverages are high in sugar and typically low in nutrients or high in fat. Limit your consumption of these food items.
If your diabetes is well managed, you may be able to fit small amounts of food with added sugars into your diet. You should always check back with your doctor.
2. If you have high blood pressure or hypertension, watch your salt intake
Salt contains 40 per cent sodium.
Sodium is essential for the normal functioning of the body. However, when eaten in excess, sodium raises blood pressure, especially in people who are sodium-sensitive.
There is strong evidence that lowering your sodium intake will help to reduce your blood pressure.
High salt intake is associated with high blood pressure, which may lead to an increased risk of kidney disease, stroke and heart disease.
•Source: Health Promotion Board