Proper nutrition and physical activity are fundamental elements for living the disease better. Expert advice on the ideal diet and exercise
There are over 3.7 million people with diabetes in Italy and more than 80% have type 2 diabetes, which is not insulin dependent. For those who live with the disease, therapy has as its cornerstone the implementation of a correct lifestyle, ie suitable eating habits and physical activity.
A special diet?
For those with type 2 diabetes there are no lists of prohibited foods or lists of special foods, but it is important to follow the rules suggested for everyone: prefer simple foods to complex ones, avoid snacks, limit sweets, cured meats, red meats, butter in cooking and salt added to the table. The important thing is to choose healthy foods and eat them in the right quantities, since the diet of the person with diabetes (defined in the USA: Medical Nutrition Theraphy, i.e. medical nutritional therapy) aims to reduce the risk of complications of diabetes and cardiovascular disease through the maintenance of plasma glucose and lipid values and blood pressure levels as close to normal as possible.
What to bring to the table and what to avoid
"In principle – explain the experts of the campaign" Don't complicate your Diabetes! ", Born with the aim of offering advice and suggestions on proper nutrition, physical activity, psychological well-being and adherence to therapy – it is recommended that the diet includes carbohydrates , coming from fruit, vegetables, wheat, legumes and skimmed milk, not less than 130 g / day but checking that they are taken in a balanced way, through their measurement and alternative use ". Not even carbohydrates, which are mainly responsible for the increase in blood sugar, therefore, should not be excluded from the menu of the person with diabetes. But bread and pasta based on wholemeal or only partially refined flours are preferred, which move the blood sugar more slowly.
On the contrary, the use of sugar should be reduced, which can be replaced with sweeteners. “As for the general population – continue the doctors – it is recommended to consume foods containing fiber (present in vegetables, vegetables, unrefined cereals and fruit). Regarding fats, it is important to limit their intake to <7% of the total daily calories, with particular limitation to saturated fats and cholesterol ”. The Mediterranean diet is therefore highly recommended because it prefers extra virgin olive oil with butter, tomatoes and vegetables, white meats and fish (blue fish) with red meats and does not disdain carbohydrates, but in moderation. Naturally, green light for seasonal vegetables. “Any type of vegetable is an excellent snack before a meal or for a break; legumes (beans and lentils) are a complete food ”, explain the experts.
Sweets yes or no?
Yes, but with judgment. "It is possible to include desserts in the menu from time to time, with the advice of the diabetologist and / or the dietician: a dessert can be added from time to time instead of bread and fruit at the end of a meal enriched with vegetables. Between meals and drinks with added sugars should be avoided ".
Well, instead, the movement. "Aerobic and moderate physical activity for at least 150 minutes a week or more intense for 90 minutes a week is recommended to improve glycemic control and maintain body weight. It should be distributed in at least three times a week and with no more than two consecutive days without activity, ”the doctors suggest. In fact, constant physical exercise contributes to good glycemic control, a benefit that is added to the numerous benefits it can ensure for health, at any age:
- reduction in blood pressure
- increase in "good" cholesterol
- prevention of osteoporosis
- release of beneficial endorphins
- benefits for the heart and lungs
- greater psychological well-being and self-esteem.
Beware of the heart, though. "Before engaging in physical activity of higher intensity than brisk walking, it is necessary to rule out conditions with a high cardiovascular risk and consult your diabetologist", conclude the experts.