Diabetes rates are soaring all over the world, however in Malaysia for the past decade the number of people diagnosed with it increased by 80%. The National Health and Morbidity survey in 2006 state that 2 out of 5 Malaysians have an extra weight, which is one of the main risk factors for the development of diabetes. Doctors and nutritionists warn that the imbalanced diet rich in fat, sugar and salt significantly increases the risk of diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disorders and some forms of cancer. It is not a secret that many delicious Malaysian dishes are high in fat and calories and become more affordable and easily available in the food courts as the country’s economic grows. Thus, by carefully reviewing your diet, you can help your body to restore the delicate balance and prevent or even cure the diabetes and significantly improve the quality of your life.
In this article, we’ll share some tips on how you can change your nutrition to deal better with the diabetes and enjoy the wonderful Malaysian food at the same time.
Know your nutritional needs
The Malaysian Research Institute suggests that carbohydrates (for example rice, noodles, bread and sweets) should contribute 55-70% of total calorie intake with only 10% coming from the sugary foods. Fat should provide no more than 20 to 30%, and protein 10-15%. You need to have at least 30 g of fiber a day.
In order to fulfill those requirements researchers determined that diet for the people suffering from diabetes should include at least 600g of vegetables and fruits. It will cover the need for vitamins, microelements, antioxidants and fiber necessary for a healthy sugar levels.
Average Malaysian has an excessive meet consumption, according to the research (Norimah et al., 2008) and not enough dairy products. Daily calorie consumption should not exceed 2500 kcal. It is important to stay hydrated with plenty of water.
You may need a consultation with the specialist to determine what diet is suitable for you, as individual needs can depend on your age, sex, health status and genetical predisposition.
Choose healthier dishes.
General advice is to avoid fried and highly processed foods and increase the intake of fresh or steamed vegetables, choose natural juices or fresh fruits. Make sure you include dark greens in your diet. Usually brighter colored vegetables and fruits are higher in nutrition.
For example, you can replace coconut cream-laden curry laksa with noodle-based soups, preferably discarding the sodium-rich liquid and adding extra vegetables. Ordering simple rice dishes instead of nasi biryani or nasi lemak can significantly reduce the amount of fat. Choose lean meat options like fishballs or chicken. Limit the consumption of the red meat to 1-2 times a week. Avoid adding santan to your dishes.
An important step in lowering your chances of diabetes and improve your sugar levels is to replace the traditional sweetened desserts with the plain fruits. Fruits contain plenty of fiber that helps to lower the blood pressure and control the cholesterol and sugar levels.