With changes in diet and exercise routines, there’s been a corresponding rise in cases of type 2 diabetes over the past few years. There’s no doubt that, despite the plethora of programmes on television showing us how to live healthily, the majority of the population simply are not.
It’s great news that the recent budget proposes to increase levies on manufacturers of sugar-laden soft drinks (with many of them opting to reduce sugar content as a result), but it’s only a tiny start. Prevention is always going to be better than a cure, and ultimately it falls with the individual to make the changes. This requires more regular exercise and a healthier diet.
Here are our tips to help you on the way:
Just 30 minutes or more of regular, moderate-intensity exercise most days will help with weight control and to lower blood pressure. This includes any of the following:
- Brisk walking, to the point where you get very slightly breathless. To encourage blood flow and increased heart rate, walk briskly, swing your arms and keep up a regular pace.
- Swimming; any stroke will do, but for prolonged activity it’s best to choose a stroke that’s maintainable for you. Front crawl or the ‘butterfly’ probably won’t fall into that category!
- Competitive games that will have you running around – anything from badminton to tennis, hockey or football. The idea is to raise your activity until you become slightly breathless.
- Non or low-impact activities like yoga and Pilates. They are suitable for beginners and more advanced students, and are surprisingly demanding. Many ballet dancers and athletes include one of these disciplines in their routines for fitness and flexibility.
And don’t forget, taking part in exercise is very sociable too. Find an exercise buddy so you can encourage each other, or join a club – a whole new social life could open up for you too.
Additionally, dealing with type 2 diabetes also requires a healthy diet. That’s not to say you can never eat a cream cake or a bar of chocolate again – it’s simply looking at alternatives to unhealthy foods the majority of the time, or at least ways to control or reduce your current intake.
Deep frying is absolutely the worst as the food completely absorbs it. The batter around the fish (or the mushrooms or whatever food you’re frying) will be full of fat. There’s no escaping it and this method of cooking is completely unnecessary.
Try shallow frying your food, or use a spray fat that offers just a calorie per spray. As a much better alternative, grill your meal instead – using herbs and spices, it will be much more tasty.
These are full of fat and sugar. If something is marked ‘low fat’, it’s guaranteed to contain something else as a substitute, whether that’s sugar, sweeteners or other additives.
Cooking from fresh doesn’t have to be time-consuming, and many simple dishes like soups, salads and casseroles are quickly prepared, or require a small amount of preparation and then can be left to cook.
Eating because it’s there
To avoid temptation, make a list and stick to it. Never go shopping when you’re hungry. Don’t be tempted by special promotions and 2 for 1 offers – psychologically, you know when you buy something it’s going to get eaten. So avoid the problem in the first place and stick to your list.
Foods that are great for diabetics
These are things like fresh meat and chicken (grilled). Salads, grains, rice, seafood (salmon is particularly good), non-fat yoghurt, non-starchy green veg (kale, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus etc).
Other things to be aware of
Alcohol. It’s empty calories, which means it has no nutritional value at all. Alcohol is not a friend of those trying to lose weight, so try and stick to low-calorie drinks like lime and soda (and remember that fruit juices are full of sugar!)
Tobacco. Smoking increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Ultimately, it’s all a mix of information and common sense. Check out diabetes.org.uk for more information on all aspects of diabetes.
And don’t forget – if you’re very overweight, consult a doctor before embarking upon a new diet or exercise regime.