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CUT your risk of diabetes

Diabetes is more common now than you probably realise. And it is neither just overweight people nor those who have a sweet tooth who are at risk.

This long-term medical condition can afflict anyone whose blood glucose levels remain higher than normal all the time. It happens when one’s pancreas does not produce enough insulin (a hormone that reduces the blood glucose levels), or when insulin does not work properly.

If you need a statistic compelling enough to make you sit up and pay more attention to the silent killer that is diabetes, one in nine Singaporeans has a lifetime risk of developing this disease, according to the National Health Survey in 2010. Of these, one in three diabetics was unaware of his condition.

The problem has continued to be so serious that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong mentioned it in his National Day Rally speech.

Even more worrying is that the number of diabetics could rise to 670,000 by 2030, based on an estimate by the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health.

Prevention is better than cure, though this is easier said than done, especially when early symptoms of diabetes can be easily missed.

But by taking charge of your health, you can make positive changes to improve your quality of life in the long run. Remember, every step counts.


PHOTO: THINKSTOCK

Watch your diet

Start by keeping a closer watch on what you consume every day, without compromising on taste. Portion control is key, and you can follow the My Healthy Plate guide by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) to plan well-balanced meals.

Make sure that a quarter of your plate is filled with brown rice or wholemeal bread, and the other quarter with meat and other foods such as fish and tofu. The remaining half of your plate should contain fruits and vegetables.

As the HPB encourages eating two servings of fruits and two servings of vegetables daily, you can replace one serving of fruits or vegetables with juices that have no added sugar.

For instance, one glass of (250ml) MARIGOLD PEEL FRESH No Sugar Added Powerberries can replace one serving of fruits, while one glass of No Sugar Added Kale & Veggie can replace one serving of vegetables.


PHOTO: THINKSTOCK

Smart food choices

Establishing what and how much to eat is equally

important. Go for healthier choices such as low-fat yogurt instead of ice cream, and use low-fat milk in place of coconut milk in curries.

When you go grocery shopping, look out for products with HPB’s Healthier Choice Symbol as they are lower in saturated fat, sodium or sugar, higher in calcium or whole grains, or free from trans-fat.


PHOTO: THINKSTOCK

For maximum benefits, include a “rainbow” of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Phytonutrients, which are natural chemical compounds responsible for the pigments in fruits and vegetables, provide vitamins, minerals and

antioxidants which are good for the body.

Ideally, you should aim to consume fruits and vegetables categorised under each of the seven rainbow hues.

For instance, purple foods like blueberries contain antioxidants such as anthocyanin and polyphenols that supports heart health, and orange types like carrots contain vitamins A and C that are beneficial for the eyes and skin.

Don’t like the crunch?

Then drink up with MARIGOLD PEEL FRESH No Sugar Added juices made from fruits and vegetables from various colour groups such as purple (Powerberries, Powerveggies), green (Kale & Veggie), yellow (Orange) and red (Cranberry & Apple).


PHOTO: THINKSTOCK

Find a balance

When it comes to quenching your thirst, water is your best option. But on days when you need an extra pick-me-up, packaged fruit and vegetable juices with no sugar added are healthier than high-sugar carbonated drinks.

After all, many children and some adults do not enjoy the bland taste of plain water. Some of them even dislike eating vegetables and fruits.

So when they are thirsty after an active sport, for instance, they are likely to opt for carbonated sodas or energy and sports drinks rather than plain water. It is therefore important to bring to their awareness that while such drinks appeal to their sweet tooth, consuming them may load their bodies with excessive sugar and may not offer nutritional value.

A refreshing and healthier alternative could be juices with no added sugar that offer some nutritional value and give the satiation of a sweet beverage.

Try, for instance, MARIGOLD PEEL FRESH No Sugar Added range of juices that are made from 100 per cent juices from fruits and vegetables and have less than 10g/100ml of fructose.

Found naturally in fruits and vegetables, fructose (also known as fruit sugar) is twice as sweet as sucrose (or more commonly known as table sugar).

So less fructose can achieve the same level of sweetness — and a lower calorie count — than sucrose.

Some packaged juices with no extra sugar also come fortified with fibre, which is a convenient way to feed your body vitamins, fibre and antioxidants on the go.

On your journey to good health, remember to indulge sparingly and consume everything from food to beverages in moderation. This way, you will reach your goals in good shape and high spirits.

Brought to you by MARIGOLD PEEL FRESH