Tailor diet to suit your body
Traditional Chinese medicine master physician in town to talk about diabetes on Dec 10
As the war on diabetes rages on in Singapore, simply having a balanced diet may not be enough to tackle the disease.
China's Professor Yu Jian Er, a renowned traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) master physician, believes the order in which food is consumed is important.
In an e-mail interview with The New Paper, the vice-chairman of Shanghai TCM Association said: "During meals, first consume the soup, followed by the vegetable. When one is almost full, consume the carbohydrate and meat."
This will help control the body's sugar response.
Prof Yu, who specialises in paediatrics, internal medicine (respiratory, kidney and immunology) and general wellness, will be in town on Dec 10 to hold a talk on diabetes at the biannual TCM Master Physicians Forum organised by Bao Zhong Tang TCM centre.
He will also be dishing out TCM health tips and recipes to manage diabetes.
Other experts will also share their knowledge on health topics that are increasingly pertinent in Singapore, such as cancer and infertility. (See report below.)
Prof Yu advises people to tailor their diets according to their body's constitution as well.
Those who are "heaty" should go for food that will cool their body, such as bittergourd, while those who are "cold" should opt for warmingredients such as ginger. Those with localised skin itching must avoid concentrated tea, spicy food and seafood.
He also advises prevention and management of diabetes through Chinese yam porridge and drinks made with boiling the peels of winter melon and watermelon.
About 450,000 people suffer from diabetes in Singapore. Most have Type 2 diabetes.
Prof Yu said the same is happening in China, where figures for Type 2 diabetes have more than doubled in the past decades.
An estimated 500 million people in China are also pre-diabetic, signalling the disease's potential prevalence.
Prof Yu said this is due to unhealthy living - sedentary lifestyles mixed with diets high in fat and sugar content.
To treat diabetes, he said a combination of TCM and Western medicine is the best.
Western medication can lower blood glucose instantly and is essential.
TCM methods are more gradual as physicians will examine a patient's overall constitution and prescribe a treatment plan accordingly.
TCM aids such as herbal medication, acupuncture and massage therapy will also be deployed to manage the disease.
Prof Yu advised caution for diabetic patients - who should seek sugar-free medication - and said herbal medication should be consumed only when suitable for one's condition, and people should seek professional opinions rather than buying such medication on their own.
He said: "Even if patients are seeing their physicians for other conditions, they should inform the physicians of their history with diabetes."