As a Certified Diabetes Educator, this topic holds a special place in my life. I’m here for you if you need help understanding how to manage your type 2 diabetes, how to prevent progression, and how to live your healthful life!
We are celebrating Nutrition Month 2018 by helping Canadians unlock the potential of food to fuel, discover, prevent, heal and bring us together.
Along with my fellow dietitian colleagues, I will help illustrate that food has the potential to:
- Fuel: Stay energized by planning nutritious snacks into your day.
- Discover: Foster healthy eating habits in children by teaching them to shop and cook.
- Prevent: Understand how food can help prevent chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
- Heal: Learn how food can promote healing and how dietitians work in health care teams to make a difference.
- Bring us together: Enjoy the benefits of bringing families and friends together with food.
As you know, in my practice I work with people living with diabetes and people who want to manage their weight through a non-diet approach, but there are so many dietitians who work in other diverse areas of nutrition too! Did you know that you can find dietitians working in many places, including hospitals, grocery stores, community health centres, universities, rehabilitation facilities, seniors’ residences and long-term care settings?
We all have one thing in common: We love food – it unites us all! Whether we are counselling a patient recovering from a heart attack, teaching a cooking class or taking students through a tour of a grocery store, we are all passionate about the potential of food and its connection to health. You will learn so much this month about the amazing potential of food!
To make Nutrition Month come alive, I’m going to be focusing on food has the potential to prevent chronic disease like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease!
Lifestyle factors, including what we eat, can influence our health. A nutritious diet can help prevent illness and can lower the risk of developing chronic diseases. Dietitians can help you follow a healthy eating pattern that suits your individual needs and health goals. This Nutrition Month, dietitians want to remind you of the power of food for disease prevention.
BUILD A BALANCED DIET
There are many diets or “eating patterns,” and some are healthier than others. The best eating pattern is one that you enjoy and can stick within the long run. The eating patterns that have been the most researched for their health benefits include the Mediterranean, DASH and MIND diets. The foods that are recommended in these patterns can help prevent type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, dementia and some types of cancer.
The eating plans listed above may have different names, but the foods are mostly the same! Here are some foods that are common to all of them:
- Vegetables and fruit
- Whole grains
- Legumes like beans and lentils
- Nuts and seeds
- Milk, cheese, and yogurt
- Fish, seafood, and poultry
- Healthy oils like canola and olive oil.
These nourishing foods are the basic ingredients that form the diet for disease prevention. You may also notice what’s missing from these eating patterns. They don’t contain a lot of highly processed foods, like cake, chips, cookies and sugary drinks that are high in added sugar, salt, and trans fat.
WORK WITH A DIETITIAN
Almost 80 % of premature stroke and heart disease can be prevented through healthy lifestyle behaviours. These include eating healthy, being active and living smoke-free.
The journey towards wellbeing begins with how we eat and dietitians have the knowledge, compassion, and flexibility to help you achieve your goals.
Consider working with a dietitian if you have health goals or concerns about your risk of chronic disease. We will work with you to embrace food, understand it and enjoy it while considering your overall objectives, needs and challenges. We look beyond fads and gimmicks to deliver reliable, life-changing advice.
As a certified diabetes educator, I can help you understand what diabetes is and how to manage it with lifestyle and medications.
Adapted from the Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month campaign materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at www.nutritionmonth2018.ca.