According to the World Health Organization (WHO), diabetes is the only significant non-communicable disease for which the risk of dying early is going up rather than down, and WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, says the need to take urgent action on diabetes is clearer today than ever. Last week, following up on the Global Diabetes Compact launched last year, WHO shared key health tips people can observe to protect themselves against NCDs such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer. According to WHO, a person with diabetes must carefully monitor their diet since uncontrolled diabetes can eventually cause heart or kidney problems. The world health body warns that when diabetes worsens to the point where it affects other areas of the body, it is important for people to alter their lifestyles to live longer. According to data provided by WHO, heart attack, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and lung disorders account for 70 per cent of all fatalities worldwide. More than 16 million of the deceased are younger than 70 years old. WHO attributes the rise in these diseases to increased fast food intake, poor physical exercise, excessive alcohol drinking, and excessive tobacco use. Cut down sugar and salt intake One of the key measures is to cut back on salt and sugar intake, which is one of the best ways to reduce risk of suffering from fully fledged diabetes and other NCDs, which are mainly fed by sugar and fat. According to WHO, there shouldn’t be more than five grams or one teaspoon of salt consumed daily. Instead of salt, use fresh, dried green leaves and fresh spices. Use salty condiments, soy sauce, and other hot sauces moderately. The health agency also advises against using more than 50 grams of sugar per day, or 12 teaspoons, and suggested 50 to 25 grams instead. Another recommendation made by WHO is to avoid including salt and sugar in the diets of children under the age of two. Minimise fatty foods In order to beat NCDs, WHO advises that people monitor the daily intake of saturated and trans-fats. It is advised that you use low-fat milk and milk products that don’t contain a lot of fat. Similarly, cut down your intake of red meat and shift focus to white meat whenever possible, such as chicken or fish. Reducing your consumption of meat products like sausage and bacon as well as heated or fried foods is another health practice that can protect you from NCDs. Eat healthy foods As mentioned earlier, on top of white meat, you must try healthy foods such as wholegrains. These should be consumed on a daily basis for sufficient fibre and muscle development. WHO also advises that people should consume more organic foods such as greens or vegetables, fresh fruits and protein-rich foods such as eggs, fish, milk, and other healthy treats that have less sugar. Watch what you drink WHO warns that cold drinks that are high in sugar, spicy drinks, coffee and other carbonated drinks should be avoided. It is recommended to abstain from alcohol use and increase water intake. Fresh fruit juices, carrot and beetroot juices as well as healthy smoothies should replace the unhealthy drinks in order for you to beat diabetes and other NCDs.