10 Nutrition Tips
Roselie Lung, Registered Dietitian
1. Eat regularly and have breakfast everyday
2. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables; choose orange vegetables and fruits and leafy greens
3. Eat foods high in fiber, such as brown rice, whole wheat noodles and whole wheat bread
4. Eat dairy products or calcium-fortified foods daily in order to consume adequate calcium
5. Be mindful of the meat portions, choose poultry and legumes
6. Eat at least two servings of fish a week
7. Choose natural herbs and spices and minimize sauces high in sodium
8. Avoid processed foods that are high in saturated fats, sodium and sugar
9. Try different cooking methods and recipes to make cooking more fun and enjoyable
10. Be physically active and exercise regularly; maintain a healthy weight
The chemical name of salt is “sodium”. Salt is added in cooking and in processing food. In general, many people consume too much salt and one of the reasons is that there is so much processed foods and fast foods on the market.
A small amount of sodium is required for our body:
- It can help balance the water levels in our bodies
- It can help the transmission of nervous system signals
- It can help regulate muscle contraction and relaxation
The kidneys regulate the amount of salt that we consume. When salt is ingested, the kidneys will help us preserve all the salt. However, if the salt intake is too high, the kidney will expel the excess in our urine.
If the kidneys are unable to excrete excess sodium, sodium will begin to accumulate in our blood. Since sodium has the function of absorbing water, “blood + water” causes an increase in the amount of fluid. As a result, the heart uses more force to pump blood, and the pressure on the vascular artery increases. Therefore, if we consume too much salt, more than the body can tolerate, there will be a series of side effects, including edema and high blood pressure. High blood pressure is one of the causes of heart failure or heart disease.
Since there are many processed and convenient foods on the market, we need to carefully consider and calculate what we choose. It is important to make relative adjustments to our eating habits to minimize the salt intake.
In order to reduce the daily salt intake, we need to have a clear understanding of the sodium content of the food (see Table 1 – 3 main sources of sodium). It is important to note that 75% of the sodium comes from prepared or processed foods (see Table 2 – Sodium in some commonly processed foods).
How much salt do we need? Usually we need 1.5-2.5 grams per day. The sodium content of a teaspoon of salt has reached 2.3 grams.
We will show you how to reduce the daily intake of salt, which foods have a high sodium content and how to make delicious dishes with less salt.
Content by Jenny Ho, Registered Dietitian
Sources of Sodium
Reducing Dietary Sodium
Tips for eating out
No salt or low salt cooking
In western countries, abundant food has caused many people to overeat and to consume excess fat which causes weight problems and obesity. Reducing the intake of high-fat food and choosing healthy food can help maintain an ideal weight and control high cholesterol and triglycerides and reduce the chance of hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).
Choosing the Appropriate Fat
Carefully avoiding fatty food and reducing your total daily intake of fat will help you reduce cholesterol. You should especially avoid saturated fats and trans fats as these 2 types of fat can cause large increases in blood cholesterol.
Overall, lowering cholesterol requires paying attention to one’s daily food intake – eat in moderation and follow a balanced diet.
Good Types of Fats
Bad Types of Fats (high in cholesterol)
Below are some sample menus that have been created for people with Diabetes.
The following 5 sets of menus are based on the number of calories. Each set meal is categorized into Chinese and Western cuisine.
206 mg cholesterol
115 mg cholesterol
132 mg cholesterol
Body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference are the two most common ways to determine if your weight falls in the healthy range. BMI reflects overall body fat content, and waist circumference reflects the fat around the waist.
The fat accumulated around the waist is associated with insulin resistance and so indicates an increased risk of developing diabetes. In addition, excess amount of fat around the waist may increase the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, high triglyceride level and heart attack.
The waist circumference of Asian male and female should be smaller than or equal to 90 cm (36 inches) and 80 cm (32 inches) respectively.
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Healthy Snacks for Adults
Information about how snacking habits change depending on age, health, weight and activity level, and an emphasis that not everyone needs snacks. In English; pdf documentDownload document
Just the Basics
This document provides information on diet and healthy eating for diabetes with a specific emphasis on South Asian foods. In English; pdf infographicDownload document
Eating Healthy with Diabetes
This document provides a list of guidelines specific to the Punjabi diet. In English; pdf documentDownload document