There are several ways to help manage the risk of developing heart disease and/or diabetes. At our program, we focus primarily on lifestyle modifications to help prevent or delay the progression of heart disease or diabetes. We also aim to minimize the need for medication needed to treat these things.
Our overall goal is to help patients adopt long-term healthy lifestyle habits.
How much is enough?
Recommendation is moderate intensity exercise done at least 5 days a week OR vigorous intensity aerobic exercise done at least 3 days/week OR a weekly combination of 3-5days/week of moderate and vigorous intensity exercise is recommended.
Type of exercise:
The primary mode of exercise should be aerobic activity; which includes walking around the block, biking to work or taking a dance class.
In addition to aerobic activity, muscle-strengthening exercises should be incorporated to enhance muscular strength and physical function. These activities should work all major muscle groups of your body.
Even small increases in physical activity may improve your health and fitness level.
To improve blood sugar control:
Eat three meals per day at regular times. Space meals no more than 6 hours apart. You many benefit from a healthy snack in between meals.
- Balanced meals: make half of your plate vegetables (corn, potatoes and sweet potatoes are too starchy to be counted as veggies), a quarter of your plate protein (beef, chicken, fish, pork, legumes, etc) and a quarter starch (potatoes, corn, sweet potatoes, pasta, rice, bread).
- Balanced snacks: choose either a starchy food or a fruit and combine with a protein food for better blood sugars.
- Limit sugars and sweets such as candy, desserts, regular pop, fruit juices, jam and honey.
- Choose high fibre foods most often: whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, vegetables and fruit.
- If you are thirsty, drink water.
To improve blood pressure:
Limit salt! Check labels for the sodium content of foods, choose products that have 10% or less of the daily value for sodium.
- Choose fresh or frozen foods more often instead of canned.
- Aim for 5-8 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. High potassium fruits and veggies, such as bananas, broccoli, cherries, chick peas, kiwi, lentils, oranges, sweet potato and tomatoes.
To improve cholesterol levels:
- Avoid trans fats. These are found in shortening and hard margarine, food containing hydrogenated oils, foods fried in hydrogenated oils, some frozen meals such as pot pies and frozen pizzas, commercial baked goods.
- Limit intake of refined carbohydrates and sugars such as white breads, buns and bagels, white rice, white pasta, potato chips, French fries, candy, regular pop, and juice.
Limit alcohol to 1-2 drinks per day. Men should have no more than 14 drinks per week, women should have no more than 9 drinks per week.
- Choose foods high in soluble fibre: oatmeal, beans and legumes, ground flax seed, vegetables and fruit.
- Choose foods containing healthy fats regularly: fish and seafood, olive, canola, sesame and peanut oils, peanut butter, nuts, and avocadoes.