You can alleviate some of the symptoms of diabetes by exercising. It is also a way to relax, feel content and achieve motivation by setting new goals, something that is of essence to every diabetic.

 

What kind of food is recommended?

As with the other aspects of treating diabetes, motivation and self-discipline are also very important, as well as education and physical activity. The diet that is recommended for diabetics is also optimal for healthy persons, so it makes a good choice for the entire family.

 

The diet is based on three to six meal courses per day (breakfast, lunch, dinner) with a few healthy snacks in between. Regular meals are of essence, as well as intervals between meals which should not be too abundant. The recommended meals consist of lean meat, saltwater fish and dairy products (rich in proteins, the basic building blocks of human cells), but also victuals such as peas, broad bean, soybean and cereals. Carbohydrates are the most abundant source of energy and are an essential part of vegetables such as lentil, beans, chickpeas, bran and rice. Avoid consuming excessive amounts of salt (it raises blood pressure which in turn affects blood vessel walls), fried and fatty food (because of cholesterol levels and risk of coronary diseases), and alcohol and drinks with high sugar levels.

 

 

What is the role of sugar and insulin?

Glucose is a simple sugar and a basic source of energy for cells. It reaches the cells via blood, and then it is used as fuel for basic functions of the organism. The surplus is stored in fat (under the skin or around the organs) or as glycogen in the liver used in critical situations (e.g. a sudden drop of glucose level).

 

Insulin is a protein hormone secreted by the pancreas, more specifically, by beta cells located in the islets of Langerhans. Alpha cells are also located in the pancreas; they secrete glucagon in the case of hypoglycemia (lowered blood glucose levels). The process of glucose entering the cell corresponds to the key and lock theory – insulin unlocks the entry to the cell via insulin receptors located on the cell itself. One of the causes of type 2 diabetes is the receptors’ insulin insensitivity. Glucose does not get absorbed in the cells; it stays in blood, causing hypoglycemia. That leads to classic symptoms (fatigue, excess thirst, frequent urination, sudden weight loss, constant hunger).

 

 

Is physical exercise allowed?

Not only it is allowed, it is both highly recommended and should be regular. Exercise helps lower blood glucose level, strengthens muscle tissue, reduces stress, increases circulation and stimulates endorphin secretion which in turn produces the feeling of well-being. Remember – diabetes is NOT a valid excuse to stop practicing physical exercise, all it takes is adjusting to the current physical state and more self-discipline.

 

 

Diabetes, diet and physical activity

Educational material contains information about the type of diet recommended for diabetics, types of physical activities and how the insulin affects the organism.

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