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Reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease


Every day the number of people being diagnosed with diabetes rises. Aside from being diagnosed with this disease, diabetes puts you at higher risk for many other diseases. For example, it increases the risk of heart disease, kidney disease, eye disease and even blindness. By making the decision to live a healthier life, you can prevent diabetes in the first place or reduce its harm if you already have the diagnoses.

Diabetes can be prevented or minimised by eating a healthy diet. Limit the amount of fats, sugar, and processed foods that you eat. Eat a varied diet of lean meats, poultry, and fish. Oily fish is good for the heart. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables (at least five servings per day). Green leafy vegetables are nutritious. Red skinned fruits and vegetables are also good for the heart. Include nuts, grains, and fibre in your diet. Drink water and limit the amount of alcohol. If you do not consider yourself to be a particularly healthy eater and you are put off by the types of food just mentioned, don’t be. I’m not suggesting that you stop eating everything that you currently eat and only eat what I have just mentioned. That would be rather torturous wouldn’t it? Take small steps. Everything in moderation is fine. Maybe once a day just substitute one of your not so healthy foods for something similar to the things I have mentioned above. Well that’s the food taken care of but I’m afraid there is a little more to being healthy than just your diet.

Next on the healthy lifestyle agenda is exercise. Some of you may love it, others will hate it. I mentioned with the food that you take small steps. If you are not someone who regularly exercises, then start slowly. Don’t expect to be able to get out of bed and run a marathon if you do not normal run very far. You are not Superman or Wonderwoman. Don’t worry about other people watching you or about the amount you can currently do. If you would like to start up some form of exercise for your health, try to do exercise that gets your heart rate up (cardio type exercise).

VERY IMPORTANT: If you are not used to exercising, please check with your healthcare provider first.

If you would like to run, start of by walking and increasing your pace. If this is too easy, try adding in some jogging. Eventually as you body becomes more accustomed to running your journey will consist of more running and less walking. Oh, by the way, walking the entire journey is also fine. By no means am I suggesting that you should become a runner. Actually, Nordic walking is quite active.

If you would like to swim, you can take a similar approach to that just mentioned for running. You could swim part and walk part of the length of the pool. As with the running, eventually the walking will lesson and the swimming will increase. Another good pool exercise is aqua aerobics or even just walking or running the length of the pool. The beauty of pools exercises is that you are able to work out without injuring your joints.

Go for a walk in your lunch break, get a paper round, park your car further away from your destination so that you have to walk, walk to the next bus stop or train station, take the stairs instead of the elevator.

If you decide to do any of these things, don’t overdo it. That will just make it seem like more a chore and may put you off trying again.