Healthy Hispanic food for everyone – even for diabetics



mexican-tacosI love Mexican food. Tortillas, enchilladas, tacos, to name a few. Unfortunately, like many delicious food, they can be full of calories and cholesterol. The National Diabetes Education Program has come up with new tool to help Hispanic Americans (as well as all Hispanic food lovers regardless of ethnic origins) enjoy their traditional dishes without damaging their health. The campaign Más que comida, es vida (It′s more than food. It′s life) consists of recipes and cooking tips designed to reduce the risk for developing type 2 diabetes. The program is a joint venture of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

But why specifically Hispanic food?

Compared to whites, Hispanics are disproportionately affected by diabetes. More than 10 percent of Hispanics aged 20 years and older have diagnosed diabetes. Among Hispanics, rates of diabetes are 8.2 percent for Cubans, 11.9 percent for Mexican-Americans, and 12.6 percent for Puerto Ricans.

Other statistics according to a national examination survey:

•·        In 2002, Hispanics were 1.5 times as likely to start treatment for end-stage renal disease related to diabetes, compared to non-Hispanic white men.

•·        In 2005, Hispanics were 1.6 times as likely as non-Hispanic Whites to die from diabetes.

The Más que comida, es vida campaign gives simple, easy-to-follow tips on how to make traditional Hispanic dishes healthier and lower in calories and fats. The tips consist of a few adjustments in the preparation, ingredients, and of course – portions.

According to Betsy Rodríguez, public health advisor of the National Diabetes Education Program′s (NDEP) Hispanic/Latino Work Group:

Meal preparation is a critical component of diabetes control. Studies show that overweight or obese individuals can prevent or delay diabetes by losing just 5 percent to 7 percent of their total weight.

One of the recipe books is called Ricas recetas para personas con diabetes y sus familiars (Tasty Recipes for People with Diabetes and Their Families), which of course available for free download in both Spanish and English at the NDEP site.

The booklet contains a comprehensive introduction to diabetes and its management. With each recipe is an accompanying “Nutrition Facts” table and diabetic exchanges calculated based on the American Diabetes Association Exchange System.

My favourites?

Avocado Tacos for starters, Rice with Chicken, Spanish Style (Arroz con pollo) and Tropical Fruits Fantasia for dessert.

Bon Apetito!

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.
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