Water-wise diabetics

2016-11-09 06:00
Cucumber and lime sparkling water.

Cucumber and lime sparkling water.

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WORLD Diabetes Day is on 14 November and according to the International Diabetes Federations’ Diabetes Atlas, more than three-quarters of deaths in Africa due to diabetes, were in people under 60 and in developing countries, including South Africa, and less than half of people with diabetes are diagnosed with the “black and Asian communities being at greatest risk”.

While type 1 diabetes is related to genetics, the most prevalent form, type 2, is a direct result of an unhealthy lifestyle and poor food choices.

Currently the government covers between 50 and 80% of the treatment cost highlighting that an urgent need for self-management education is required.

Food plays a vital role in reducing the risks of type 2 diabetes, but equally so, what we drink can be a ticking time bomb if not managed correctly.

Popular high sugar drinks such as fizzy drinks, iced teas and fruit juices contain an unhealthy amount of sugar, and much debate rages around the “sugar free” variations thereof.

Water is always the best option as it won’t raise your blood sugar levels and helps the body eliminate excess glucose through urine. According to studies, women should drink approximately eight glasses of water a day and men up to 10.

A recent study in the journal of Diabetes Care suggests that people who drank two cups or less of water a day were 30% more likely to have high blood sugar than those who drank more than that daily. The reason for this is due to a hormone called vasopressin, which helps the body regulate hydration. When a person is dehydrated, vasopressin stimulates the liver to produce more blood sugar.

Eight to 10 glasses of water a day is a tall order, especially if water doesn’t appeal to you, so how can we manage to maintain hydration whist eliminating the bland and avoiding sugars?

• Infuse water with fresh fruit such as lemon, lime or orange or herbs such as mint, basil or ginger.

• Carbonated water such as soda stream water can improve the taste as the bubbles bring to the surface the flavour and aroma of the drink. Scientists have also found an enzyme on the sour receptors of our tongues called Carbonic Anhydrase 4 (CA-IV). The bubbles stimulate the sour buds and the somatosensory system. The dual activation on the buds and the nerves creates a pleasurable sensation.

• Mash berries such as blueberries, raspberries or cranberries and add carbonated water.

• Refrigerate stock from boiling vegetables for a refreshing, vitamin packed drink.

• Flavour with sugar free mixes such as Soda Stream Zero range of syrups or Liptons Green Tea.

• Caffeine-free teas such as rooibos, green, chamomile or peppermint make drinking pleasure both warm and iced.

Try these recipes:

Cucumber and lime sparkling water


• sparkling water

• cucumber

• lime


• Wash the cucumber and slice wide thin stripes (use a vegetable peeler)

• Pour the sparkling water to a jug, add the cucumber slices and a some drops of lime for extra flavour. Serve cold.

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