Frequently Asked Questions
Changing the way you eat or managing conditions like obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol and so on, can be quite a challenge. You are sure to have some questions and you might find some of the answers right here!
If you want to know more, don't hesitate, submit your questions here or call the National Nutrition Centre at 427 1693 during normal working hours.
Ask the Nutritionist
I have high blood pressure. I exercise three times a week. What foods do I need to avoid?
First of all, it is very good that you exercise regularly as exercise does help to lower blood pressure and the effects can last for several hours after the exercise is completed – so keep it up!
When it comes to diet, the most important thing you can do is cut down on salt and sodium and increase the amounts of vegetables and fruit you eat daily. It may also be beneficial to use non-fat or low fat milk and dairy products regularly.
When cooking, use little or no added salt or bouillon cubes. Instead, use more garlic, celery, onion, sweet pepper, and fresh (or dried) herbs and spices for flavour. When shopping, read the Nutrition Facts label to find out which foods are high (20% or more) or low (5% or less) in sodium. Don't forget to check the serving size. If you need more information, arrange an appointment with the Community Nutrition Officer at your nearest polyclinic.
What's a good breakfast for a person with diabetes, which is controlled by diet and exercise?
That is an important question since what you eat for breakfast may have an effect on blood glucose levels for the rest of the day. Your aim, as with any meal, is to ensure that your blood glucose levels will be back in the normal range two hours after you have eaten. This means you should eat an appropriate amount of carbohydrate food, such as high fibre oat cereal or whole wheat bread, along with low fat protein, such as skim or soy milk with the cereal or sardine or egg with the bread.
If you want to include fruit or juice you need to consider that all fruits and juices, even unsweetened, are sources of carbohydrate, which means you might have to reduce your portion of cereal or bread. The two hour after-meal blood sugar is a way to check whether you got your carbohydrate portions right. If you need more information, arrange an appointment with the Community Nutrition Officer at your nearest polyclinic.
What are the best fruits and vegetables to eat?
The best fruits and vegetables to eat are those that are in season as they are usually the freshest and the cheapest! Seriously, fresher fruits and vegetables are usually higher in nutritional value, especially vitamin C. However, the colour of fruits and vegetables also indicates how much beta-carotene (vitamin A) they contain. Dark green, orange, yellow and red vegetables and fruits have the most but all fruits and vegetables contain a variety of nutrients and fibre and make a valuable contribution to a healthy diet. Frozen and canned produce are also nutritious and can be economical since there is no waste.
Aim for 3–5 servings of fruit (2-4 servings for persons with diabetes) and 3–5 servings of vegetables daily. A serving is a medium fruit or a ½ cup diced fruit or vegetables or 1 cup leafy greens like lettuce. If you try to include fruit or vegetables at each meal and snack you will easily reach your target.