‘Take measurements’ by weighing yourself at least once a week and measuring your waist circumference with a measuring tape, check your fasting blood sugar and blood pressure regularly.
Eat in moderation; maintaining a healthy body weight; choose foods based on their nutritional quality; implement a healthy lifestyle characterized by moderate intensity physical activity for at least 150 minutes a week; quitting smoking: these are some of the advice of the Italian Society of Internal Medicine (SIMI), founded in 1887 with the aim of preventing and reducing the burden on public health of chronic diseases of a large impact (such as cardiovascular and type 2 diabetes) , to enjoy good health.
Small daily actions that are very simple to put into practice, but which can help you live better and longer.
- Watch out for portions at the table
- Take your measurements
- Good health is built at the table
- Get on track
- Find out if you have ‘sweet’ blood
- You know the ‘numbers’ of your pressure
- Don’t blow your life up
- Remember to take your medications
- Antibiotics and pain relievers, only if prescribed by your doctor
- The vaccine saves your life, but don’t ask Dr. Google for advice
Watch out for portions at the table
First tip: don’t overdo it. “Often you don’t need a diet, but just a little attention not to overdo the amount of food consumed at each meal (avoiding nibbling between one and the other)”, explain the experts of the Scientific Society. “You can eat anything, but in moderation. To be able to taste and enjoy all foods, without harming your health “.
Take your measurements
“Let’s save ourselves the extra kilos”, suggests the decalogue developed by SIMI. But noting just the weight read on the scale once a week is not enough: it is also important to measure your waist circumference regularly with a measuring tape.
An article published in ‘Nutrition, Obesity and Exercise’ has shown, in fact, that an abundant waistline, greater than 88 cm (i.e. central obesity), even when body weight is normal, in postmenopausal women it is associated with an increase in mortality compared to normal weight women with normal waist circumference.
“Overweight and obesity (especially ‘visceral’ obesity, responsible for increasing the waistline) – the experts write in their handbook – are important risk factors for diabetes, arterial hypertension, fatty liver (fatty liver), cardiovascular diseases and some tumors “. Attention, therefore, also to the measures: “The measures of the waist circumference not to be exceeded – adds prof. Giorgio Sesti, president of SIMI – is 94 cm for men and 80 cm for women “.
Good health is built at the table
But what to eat? Counting calories is not enough: the precious foods that we bring to the table every day are much more than a number read on the calorimeter. Each of them is composed of molecules capable of affecting our health.
The advice of the SIMI experts is to limit the amount of saturated fats introduced in the diet, contained in red meat, processed meats and cheeses. “The consumption of saturated fats – explains prof. Sesti – is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes “.
Yellow light also for salt and salty foods such as sausages, cheeses, canned goods. “The increased consumption of salt causes an increase in water retention and blood pressure”, explains Sesti.
It is also good to reduce sugar, including that present in drinks, and alcohol. “The excessive consumption of alcohol causes an increased risk of liver disease up to cirrhosis and pancreatic diseases”. Instead, “An increase in the consumption of foods containing simple sugars causes a rapid increase in blood sugar and in the production of insulin, the hormone which – in addition to metabolizing glucose – transforms excess glucose into triglycerides or fat that accumulates in the adipocytes of adipose tissue “.
Conversely, green light for fish, plant fibers (vegetables, legumes, fruit and whole grains) and small amounts of valuable foods, such as olive oil, nuts and seeds. “The consumption of fish, in particular the blue fish, rich in omega 3 unsaturated fatty acids – continues the SIMI president – helps to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, has cardio and vaso-protective effects and has anti-inflammatory properties”. Instead, “The increase in fiber consumption determines the reduction and slowdown of the assimilation of simple sugars and fats, prolongs the sense of satiety, reduces the increase in postprandial glycaemia and in the insulin response. The consumption of extra virgin olive oil reduces the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases the good one (HDL), has positive antioxidant effects on aging and the resulting pathologies – such as senile dementia, cognitive deterioration, Alzheimer’s and osteoporosis, it helps to reduce blood pressure and improve endothelial function and helps prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. The seeds are rich in omega 3 and antioxidant substances ”.
Get on track
If you still don’t, it’s time to start physical activity. If of moderate intensity for at least 150 minutes a week (brisk walking, running, cycling, swimming) “it not only helps to consume excess calories – assure the SIMI experts – but also improves cardiac performance and respiratory function, it increases muscle strength, lowers blood pressure, lowers blood sugar and increases levels of ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL) ”.
Find out if you have ‘sweet’ blood
It is also important to measure your fasting blood sugar to find out if you have type 2 diabetes or if you are at risk of developing it. “Intercepting the onset of diabetes in the bud allows you to slow down its evolution and protect against its complications (cardiovascular, kidney and eye diseases)”, continue the doctors.
You know the ‘numbers’ of your pressure
“Check your blood pressure regularly and, if it is high (above 140/90 mmHg), take measures: fewer calories and less salt at the table, more physical activity and a check-up by the doctor, to start therapy if necessary. They will keep the risk of heart attack or stroke at bay ”, advises the Scientific Society.
Don’t blow your life up
Tobacco smoking is one of the most important risk factors for respiratory, cardiovascular and cancer diseases. “All types of tobacco – reads the Decalogue – are harmful, including filter cigarettes, cigars and pipes, regardless of how they are smoked. Attention also to ‘electronic’ smoking “.
Remember to take your medications
“If you are on chronic medication (for diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease or other chronic diseases), take them as prescribed by your doctor, never stop them. If in doubt, consult your doctor, without taking any chances with do-it-yourself modifications. To remind you to pick them up on time, put an ‘alarm clock’ on your mobile ”.
Antibiotics and pain relievers, only if prescribed by your doctor
“Taking antibiotics won’t make you feel better if you have a viral infection (like a cold or the flu); in return you will make your contribution to the planetary problem of antibiotic resistance. Misuse of some anti-inflammatory / pain relievers (NSAIDs) can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, gastric bleeding and kidney disease ”.
The vaccine saves your life, but don’t ask Dr. Google for advice
“We can all have doubts about vaccines, including influenza and Covid-19 vaccines; However, do not look for answers on the Internet, but talk to your doctor. And still on the subject of Covid-19, do not forget to carefully practice the anti-contagion measures: physical distancing, masks, wash your hands often and often ventilate the room in which you stay, at home or in the workplace “.