BoxGreen Presents: 5 Nutritionist-Approved Tips To Prevent Diabetes

Leah Ho

One in nine Singaporeans has diabetes, with the rate going up to three in ten for those aged 60 and above. This worrying trend was expressed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during the National Day Rally. What’s more, diabetes is also becoming more prevalent amongst the young.

But what exactly is diabetes? Simply put, it’s a lifelong health condition characterised by an ineffectiveness to manage blood sugar levels in the body.

There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is commonly diagnosed during childhood, when the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Type 2 diabetes refers to high blood sugar that occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin – a hormone that helps regulate your blood sugar levels – or when your pancreas does not produce sufficient insulin.

Type 2 diabetes, more common in Singapore, is usually caused by an unhealthy diet and lifestyle, such as eating too much junk food and having little physical activity. Other risk factors include obesity and a family history of diabetes.

However, the good news is that unlike many health conditions, diabetes can be managed with a healthy lifestyle and diet.  For instance, changing your diet and adding moderate exercise (such as walking) can reduce the chance of developing diabetes by over 40 percent.

We speak with Leah Ho, BoxGreen’s resident nutritionist to find out how to reduce your risk of developing diabetes.  

Moderate physical activity each week can help lessen the risk of developing type 2 diabetes

Find a physical activity you enjoy

Ideally, you should engage in 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five times a week. However, if that's too hard for a start, find something you enjoy, be it HIIT, barre, or hiking. If you enjoy the activity, exercising will not be such a chore!

Cook with healthy oils and cut back on deep fried items

When at the supermarket, select oils with the healthier choice symbol, such as soybean oil, sunflower oil, and olive oil. These options are rich in good fats like unsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Deep fried and fast food items should ideally be consumed at most twice a month.

Choose healthier options 80% of the time

Having a balanced meal of whole grain carbohydrates like brown rice, vegetables, and lean meat can be tough when Singapore is a food paradise (think sinful local favourites like char kway teow and mee rebus). But there can be healthier, delicious options when eating out too. For instance, yong tau foo, thunder tea rice and fish soup.

boxgreen's healthy snacks

As for snacks, pick up healthier alternatives like trail mixes in portion control sizes so that you won’t unconsciously snack too much. Boxgreen snacks are a delicious and easy way to keep your snack intake in check. The social enterprise also donates a meal to the needy through the Willing Hearts soup kitchen for every box of snacks sold.

Regular health checks

From the age of 30, it is good to get your health check-up done once a year to diagnose any underlying health condition or let you know if there is any aspect of your health you should look out for. It also gives you peace of mind!

Stress less, sleep well

When you're stressed, your body releases hormones that elevate blood sugar. Sleep deprivation also increases the risk of diabetes. Take some time to meditate, go for a walk and get enough sleep every night because health is wealth!


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