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Healthy Living Guidelines

A healthy diet and diabetes

Healthy eating for people with diabetes is important because it can help:

  • Maintain blood glucose control and reduce the risk of complications
  • Reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and the tissue damage associated with high blood glucose levels
  • Support management of body weight
  • Maintain quality of life

A healthy diet should include a wide variety of foods, not too many fatty and sugary foods, not too much salt and plenty of fibre-rich foods including fruit and vegetables.

Top tips for healthy eating

  • Eat 5 or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day
  • Reduce fat, especially saturated (animal) fat
  • Reduce salt intake – the most effective way of doing this is to cut out as many processed foods as possible
  • Increase intake of omega 3 oils – try eating at least two servings of oily fish per week
  • Reduce alcohol intake

The above is an extract from the DRWF Patient Information Leaflet A Healthy Diet and Diabetes v6.0, published March 2016 (reviewed within an 18 month period).

The benefits of exercise

People who exercise have lower blood pressure, lower heart rates and improved circulation. They also have lower cholesterol and less body fat, as well as higher rates of metabolism and consequently better weight control. They sleep better, have more energy, are less stressed/anxious and tend to be happier and more confident.

Why is exercise important for someone with diabetes?

Unlike medication, exercise is low cost and side-effect free. Those with diabetes who don’t exercise are three times more likely to have poor diabetes control and more likely to suffer related complications. Exercising regularly also improves sensitivity to the body’s own insulin and the body becomes better at transporting glucose. This happens because exercise stimulates the body’s muscles.

Exercise also reduces the level of fat in the body and it is thought that mobilisation of the body’s fat stores by exercising that might improve blood glucose control. Less glucose in the blood, because it’s now stored in the body’s muscle, means the blood flows better and some of the blood vessel complications associated with diabetes, may be avoided.

Top tips to get started

  • Check with your GP or diabetes healthcare provider that your diabetes is presently stable enough to allow you to begin an exercise routine
  • Start with small bouts of exercise of around 5-10 minutes per day and build up gradually
  • Find an exercise partner to provide motivation and accountability
  • Choose something you enjoy, as you are more likely to stick at it
  • Find out about Healthy Walk schemes or other exercise related events in your area

The above is an extract from the DRWF Patient Information Leaflet Exercise and Diabetes v3.0 (second print), published November 2016 (reviewed within an 18 month period).

Diabetes Wellness Events

Sharing experiences with like-minded people is a great way to feel supported in your efforts to attain a healthy balanced lifestyle and manage your diabetes effectively.

Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, newly diagnosed or ‘old hat’, parent or carer, attending a Diabetes Wellness Event is a great way to meet new friends, share stories of living with diabetes, learn about all aspects of the condition and related health from a host of clinicians and healthcare professionals, in a relaxed and friendly environment.

With 15 years experience of bringing people together through the Diabetes Wellness Event programme, we know that it provides a fabulous support network and something for everyone.