diabetes in south asians

Eating and Living Healthier: How can South Asians Incorporate More Vegetables in their Diets

South Asians have a higher risk factor for type 2 diabetes which makes them more susceptible to heart disease and strokes. Let’s admit it, we are meat lovers and don’t incorporate as many vegetables in our everyday life as we could. Good nutrition and exercise are cornerstones of a healthy lifestyle for everyone, not just for people who have diabetes.

For Canadians living with type 2 diabetes, death from heart disease at an earlier age is a serious risk. Heart disease is the number one cause of death for Canadians living with type 2 diabetes.

The great news is that research shows that along with lifestyle habits like regular movement and healthy eating, some type 2 diabetes medications may reduce the threat of early death from heart disease.

If you have type 2 diabetes, take an active role in investing in the protection of your heart. Speak with your doctor about type 2 diabetes treatments that may help prevent an early death from cardiovascular disease. Visit www.MyHeartMatters.ca to learn more.

diabetes in south asians

This website is a great and free resource for people living with diabetes and their caregivers, providing information on diabetes related conditions. Canadians can find a number of different tools on the site to help support them with their diabetes management.

I especially love the self-assessment wheel and personalized doctor’s discussion guide on MyHeartMatters.ca. When it comes to managing your diabetes, the self-assessment wheel is a quick tool that helps identify some of the main things you can do as part of your self-management plan.

Good nutrition is important for everyone, but it’s especially critical for people living with type 2 diabetes. Adopting a healthy diet plan can help balance blood sugars and manage health-related risks. Cart2Table.ca is an extension of the MyHeartMatters.ca website and helps people with type 2 diabetes rediscover the joy of food. I love the recipes on Cart2Table which are healthy and provide guidelines on portion control and nutrition-related information.

diabetes in south asians

Resources include: grocery guides, nutrition label guides, healthy swaps, guides for meal planning, eating out, portion control and healthy recipes.

There are amazing recipes and meals to enjoy more vegetables and fruit on Cart2Table.ca that you can take inspiration from.

I do want to talk about our traditional vegetarian South Asian recipes that are also healthy such as mixed vegetables and spinach with potatoes aalo palak. These dishes are rich in vegetables and spiced for the South Asian palette. They are also a throwback to the farming background of most South Asian families where vegetables and ‘roti’ bread made with whole grains were a regular feature in the family meals These dishes are healthy and compatible with a diabetes lifestyle.

Here is a list of great ideas for nutritious and diabetes superfoods you can incorporate in your diet and shopping:

  • Beans: A great source of fibre, beans slow down digestion and help reduce sudden spikes in blood sugar – kidney, navy, pinto, black – try them all.
  • Berries: Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, oh my – these sweet treats are packed with vitamins and fibre and provide a delicious dessert alternative.
  • Dark, leafy vegetables: Spinach, kale, arugula, collard greens – low in calories and carbohydrates but high in vitamins and minerals.
  • Fish (high in omega-3 fatty acids): “Fatty fish” like salmon and trout may help to reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Milk and yogurt: Low-fat dairy products are nutritious (full of calcium and vitamin D) and delicious. Choose low-fat items with no added sugar.
  • Nuts: Almonds, pecans, cashews – go nuts (but hold the salt). Nuts can be high in calories, so be mindful of portions but, these super snacks are full of healthy fat, fibre, and flavour.
  • Sweet potatoes: Much lower on the glycemic index than regular potatoes and jam-packed with vitamin A and fibre.
  • Whole grains: Rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibre, whole grains – such as whole oats, quinoa, and brown rice – are healthy and versatile pantry staples. Enjoy them in cereal, salad, soup, and stir-fry.

Check out Cart2Table.ca for more ideas and tips!

Disclaimer: This blog post is sponsored by an alliance of two of Canada’s leading research-based pharmaceutical companies.