It's National Diabetes Week and the focus is on stigma. Research from the Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes shows that more than four out of five people living with diabetes had felt blamed, shamed or treated differently by others because they have diabetes.
Stigma can interfere with people's diabetes-related health and well-being.
It can also mean they are not able to get the help they need to manage their diabetes and can have an adverse effect on a person's mental and emotional well-being.
About one in two people with diabetes have experienced mental health challenges in the past 12 months. What you eat and drink can affect your mental health and sense of well-being and your mood can, in turn, influence what you eat.
So, try to make improvements in the variety of healthy foods you usually eat.
This can help to improve your overall mood.
A healthy brain needs the right foods and nutrients.
Fats: Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish, walnuts, flaxseed, chia seeds and some plant oils are needed to make brain neurotransmitters.
Carbohydrate: Converted to glucose, it's the brain's main energy source. It can be found in bread, cereals, fruit, starchy vegetables, milk and yoghurt.
Total protein: Along with specific amino acids (taurine, tryptophan, L-theanine), proteins in meat, chicken, fish, legumes, dairy, eggs and nuts are needed to make neurotransmitters.
B-group vitamins: Found in grains, leafy green vegetables, wholegrains, yeast spreads, seeds and eggs, vitamins like thiamin (B1), pyridoxine (B6), folate (B9), cobalamin (B12) are needed to make the myelin sheath that covers nerves and to make neurotransmitters.
Minerals: Iron, zinc and iodine found in meat, chicken, seafood, legumes and nuts make enzymes needed for metabolic processes in the brain and to make neurotransmitters.
Water: To keep you hydrated. When you don't drink enough you become dehydrated and that makes it harder to concentrate. Depending on how hot it is, most people need up to two litres of water a day. A practical guide is that your urine should be the colour of straw. Some people with kidney disease, heart failure or other medical conditions may be given a specific fluid restriction, so check with your doctor.
The following healthy eating tips put all this information together:
About one in two people with diabetes have experienced mental health challenges in the past 12 months. What you eat and drink can affect your mental health and sense of well-being.
If you would like more information on food and mood, we have recently worked closely with the National Youth Mental Health Foundation headspace and its Gosford and Lake Haven teams on the NSW Central Coast to create a free online book called How to Feel Fab with Mood Foods.
It includes more than 60 pages of information on food nutrition and mental health and how to prepare healthy foods when you are time poor or on a budget.
You can find the e-book online at the University of Newcastle's No Money No Time website, a free resource on healthy eating developed in partnership with nib Foundation. More information about support is available for people living with diabetes on the Defeat Diabetes website at headsupdiabetes.com.au/support
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