Healthy eating and diabetes
If you have diabetes, healthy eating can help you to:
- maintain general good health
- better manage your blood glucose levels
- achieve target blood lipid (fat) levels
- maintain a healthy blood Pressure
- maintain a healthy body weight
- prevent or slow the development of diabetes complications.
Along with healthy eating, physical activity is important. Be as active as possible,in as many different ways as possible. Aim to do at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, if not all days of the week. A regular half-hour of physical activity can help to:
- lower your blood glucose levels
- lower your cholesterol
- lower your blood pressure
- reduce stress and anxiety
- improve your mood and self-esteem
- improve the quality of your sleep
- increase muscle and bone strength.
If your goal is weight loss, aim to do at least 60 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week. If 30–60 minutes of physical activity seems like too much to start with, you can break this up into smaller blocks of 10–15 minutes, spread out across the day.
Resistance activity is also highly recommended for all people and especially people with diabetes. An exercise physiologist can help you, to create a safe resistance activity program. Aim to do resistance type activities at least twice per week.
This could include:
- body weight exercises like push-ups, squats or lunges at home
- using dumbbells and resistance bands (such as Thera-Bands™) to do resistance exercises at home
- doing tasks around the home that involve lifting, carrying or digging
- joining a gym and doing weights or other resistance exercises.
Also try to reduce the amount of time you spend sitting down, either at work, at home or both. Some small activities you can do to help reduce the amount of time you spend sitting throughout the day include:
- Take the stairs rather than the lift.
- Park further away from your destination and walk.
- Get off public transport one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way.
- Get up to get a drink of water on a regular basis, at least once every hour.
- Do some chores, such as ironing, while watching TV.
- Play with your children or grandchildren in the park.
- Get up and talk to your work colleagues rather than emailing them.
Sugar intake and diabetes
People with diabetes who follow a healthy eating pattern, can include a small amount of sugar in their diet. However, the sugar should be eaten as part of a nutritious meal. For example, one teaspoon of honey with plain porridge, tinned fruit in natural juice and some types of high fibre breakfast cereals with dried fruit, such as natural muesli.
Talk to a dietitian
People with diabetes should discuss their food habits with a dietitian so that appropriate dietary recommendations can be designed for their needs.
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