01 July 2009


At present, it is not possible to prevent Type 1 diabetes. However, Type 2 diabetes, which is often associated with being overweight, may be prevented by:

* Maintaining a healthy weight

- Excess fat prevents insulin from working properly. Find out the healthy weight for your heiht and commit yourself to losing weight.

* Adobting healthy eating habits

- Have regular and balanced meals every day. Pay special attention to your food portion and frequency.
- Include at least 2 servings of fruit, 2 servings of vegetables and 1 serving of whole grains in your daily meals.
- Choose and prepare foods with:

# Less fat, especially saturated fat
# Less sugar
# Less salt and sauces

Use the Healthy Diet Pyramid as a guide to plannin your meals and to help you eat a balanced diet.

There are 4 main food groups:

@ Rice and alternatives
@ Fruit
@ Vegetables
@ Meat and alternatives

Your daily meals should include the largest servings from the rice and alternatives food group. This includes rice, noodles, pasta, cereal, porridge, chapati, naan, idli, thosai, biscuits and potatoes.
You may have heard people saying that these foods are fattening. This is not true. It is the added fat and sugar that you need to be careful about. When choosing foods from this group, select more of the wholemeal and unrefined grain products.

Placed on the second level of the Pyramid are the Fruit and Vegetables food groups. When consuming these foods :
* Eat fruit with skin on, if the skin is edible.
* Choose brightly-coloured fruit and vegetables as they contain more nutrients than the pale-coloured types.
* Don't overcook the vegetables.

Meat and alternatives food group, placed on the third level of the Pyramid includes meat, poultry,fish, seafood, milk & milk products, beans & bean products, nuts and seeds. When choosing foods from this food group :

* Use lean meat, skinless pulstry and low fat milk & milk prodcts.
* Replace meat with beans, beancured, lentils or dhal in your meals occasionally.
* Choose fresh meat instead of preserved, canned or barbequed meats.

Placed at the tip of the pyramid is- fat, oils, salt, and sugar which you should only use in small amounts.
Choose foods from all the four food groups and eat the recommended number of servings everyday.

* Exercising regularly

Engaging in regular physical activity is good for the prevention of diabetes. It uses up bl
ood glucose and body fat, improves blood circulation and strengthens the heart. Thus, it helps to control weight and improves insulin action. Walking, swimming, dancing, cycling and bowling are all good ways to exercise. Cleaning your house or gardening is also a form of physical activity. If you have not engaged in regular and vigorous physical activity before, check with your doctor.

Use the F.I.T.T. formula as a guide to help you plan an effective exercise programme.

For sedentary individuals:

F = Frequency : Exercise 5 times a week or more
I = Intensity : Exercise at 55-69% of your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR)*
T = Time : At least 30 minutes each session
T = Type : Exercise duration may be in a single bout or accumulated through several 10 minute bouts over the day e.g.brisk walking, cycling (leisure ).

For physically active individuals:

F = Frequency : Exercise 3 times a week or more
I = Intensity : Exercise at 70 - 90 % of your MHR*
T = Time : At least 20 minutes each session
T = Type : Aerobic exercises e.g. jogging, swimming, cycling (fast), running.

* To estimate your MHR, substract your age from 220. For e.g. if you are 35 years old, your MHR is 220-35=185 beats per minute (bpm). 55-69% of this MHR is 102-128 bpm.

Hopefully useful,
Source :Health Promotion Health- Singapore

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