World Diabetes Day 2020: Parents, Take Note Of These Tips To Control Your Child's Diabetes Risk
On the occasion of World Diabetes Day here are some helpful tips for parents that can help reduce the risk of diabetes in children. Do not miss these expert recommended guidelines and make these changes in diet and lifestyle today!
Diabetes Day: Staying physically active can help reduce type-2 diabetes risk
- Diabetes is a chronic condition which affect blood sugars
- World Diabetes Day is observed on 14 November each year
- A fibre rich diet can help manage blood sugar levels
Type-2 Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way your body processes sugar. Without treatment, sugar starts to build in the blood and can lead to serious long-term consequences. In recent times, it has been observed that type-2 Diabetes in children is on the rise, almost an epidemic in some countries. Some risk factors for type-2 diabetes in children include weight gain, inactivity, family history, ethnicity and gestational diabetes. A sedentary lifestyle plays a major role in causing this epidemic. In the past decade, physical exercise has been swapped with sedentary games like video games, watching TV and staying mostly indoors. There is a significant change in eating habits too. Desserts like desi laddoo have been replaced with chocolates and candies, sherbets with fizzy drinks and cola, desi ghee with refined processed oils and the list goes on.
It is important to understand that, what children will eat today will create a foundation for their future health. If you create a healthy environment, it will help them lead a healthy life. In this article, let us look at some diet and lifestyle hacks that can prevent Type-2 Diabetes in children.
Diet and lifestyle modifications to control diabetes risk in children
1. Stop the hidden ingredient - MSG
Monosodium glutamate is a toxic compound added to foods to make it more palatable. Your body can't process it. MSG tricks your brain to feel hungry. S lot of processed foods have this ingredient. This ingredient can cause hormonal issues in young girls and may lead to attention deficit disorder in children. It directly affects your nervous system too. MSG increases hunger as it puts more pressure on the pancreas to produce insulin. The more unused insulin in the bloodstream, the higher are chances of weight gain and a constant feeling of hunger.
2. Ditch the whites and get the grains
Added sugar present in soft drinks and many other food products is harmful to health in several ways. Consuming high levels of sugar, not only causes weight gain, but it also leads to severe health repercussions. At a very young age, it should be avoided as much as possible. You can switch to 1 teaspoon of jaggery or honey or molasses a day.
When it comes to ditching the white, it goes without saying the benefits of millets and grains in maintaining blood sugars and reducing hunger. Quinoa cutlets, quinoa or millets pulao, brown rice, ragi chappatis, wholemeal or multigrain flour bread are low in Glycemic index, which doesn't cause a sugar spike, unlike refined flours. Refined flours are processed and lack fibre which increases sugars immediately after consumption. Eating high GI meals also makes you hungry.
3. Soak up the sun and Sound sleep
Vitamin D plays an important role in improving insulin resistance. It helps in regular cell growth, maintains calcium in the body and uplifts mood. Some foods rich in vitamin D are mushrooms, sprouted mung beans, cod liver, egg yolk, fish and chicken. Make sure your child's vitamin D levels are adequate. Ideally, get your child to play or sit in the sun for 30 minutes in the morning or evening. Lack of vitamin D and constant use of gadgets can reduce sleep hormone melatonin in the body which can lead to disrupted sleep cycle. A sound sleep of 8-9 hours is required to maintain good sugar levels in the body.
4. Power of greens and adapt the colours of the rainbow
Popeye was right! Incorporate greens in children's diet through smoothies, cutlets, chutneys or just sneak them into their favourite dishes. Presentation matters and so does the palatability. Mentioning some meal ideas, not limited to these include palak paneer, spinach paratha, green chutneys, broccoli fritters or cutlets, pasta in spinach sauce, spinach ravioli and vegetable muffins. Just keep trying different things for your kids. Green Leafy vegetables are powerhouse antioxidants and have an abundance of minerals like iron, calcium, zinc, folate and vitamins like vitamin A, C and K.
It is also recommended to add different colours of the rainbow on your plate- especially from vegetables. The more colourful your plate will look, the more nutrients will get in your child's diet. Vegetables have both soluble and insoluble fiber which increases satiety and also helps in reversing some metabolic-related health disorders.
5. Get Healthy Munchies
Choosing quick and ready to eat snacks is one of the unhealthy choices. It is vital to choose snacks wisely. The easiest snack can be a fistful of mixed nuts (about 30 gm mixed nuts). Nuts are rich in HDL cholesterol, iron, soluble fiber, omega 3, selenium, zinc and much more. Some of these minerals, particularly zinc, selenium assists in metabolic pathways and help in improving insulin resistance. Other healthy snacks include - fruits skewers, fresh fruits (not juices), low-fat milk, boiled eggs, roasted chana, vegetable bite muffins and wheat or millet crackers with hummus or hung curd dips.
6. Get Active
Being physically active improves insulin sensitivity. Exercise not only assists in weight loss but it also boosts mental health. Get your kids to exercise more often. It is one of the easiest and yet effective ways to reverse diabetes and any lifestyle-related disorders. About 45 minutes of exercise works wonder. Dance, Zumba, jumping on the trampoline, skipping, yoga, jumping jacks and hopscotch are some indoor exercises children can do during the Covid-19 outbreak. The idea is to just move!
Thirst is often mistaken for hunger. Recent research shows that when you are thirsty, you can grab more savoury foods like crisps and chips! Not only children but adults also tend to get confused between thirst and hunger. Children should drink enough water throughout the day. It will prevent the consumption of extra snacks and keep children more active and alert. Remember! hydration doesn't include tea, coffee or soft drinks. These are diuretics and can dehydrate you more.
Make small changes, discuss with your child what is easy for him/her to adapt. Some simple lifestyle changes can have a huge impact on the health of the child.
(Swati Bathwal is a Diabetes Educator, Dietitian and Public Health Nutritionist)
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