Today we will touch on a topic related to health, nutrition, immunity and sports.
We spoke with the specialist in Diabetes, Nutrition and Metabolic Diseases, Ana Ghimiciu, and she briefly answered some questions about how we could have a healthier, balanced life and a stronger immunity.
Q. 1. For a balanced life, what foods should we consume daily to maintain our immunity at maximum levels?
A. As we well know, the immune system represents the body's ability to fight against bacterial, viral, parasitic and food antigens. First of all, to enjoy a healthy immune system, we must adopt a healthy lifestyle. This is the best step we can take to naturally keep our immune systems strong and healthy.
Every part of the body, including the immune system, works better when we protect ourselves from attacks from the external environment by following a series of healthy living strategies, such as:
-Give up smoking
-Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
- Consume good quality proteins.
- Do regular sports.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
-Eliminate alcohol or consume in moderation.
-Sleep properly, at least 7-8 hours per night.
- Follow a series of measures to avoid infection, such as frequent hand washing and cooking meat well.
-Try to minimize stress.
-Exposed to the sun to synthesize vitamin D, maximum 10-15 minutes, being essential for the normal functioning of the muscle and bone system and for strengthening the immune system.
- Consume foods rich in vitamins that can contribute to maintaining a healthy immune system, such as: mushrooms, broccoli, peppers, citrus fruits, kiwi, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, probiotics, spinach, chicken/turkey, sunflower seeds.
Q. 2. How does sugar affect our health and with what food should it be replaced?
A. Sugar is found naturally in almost all foods, such as fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy. Consuming whole foods that contain natural sugar is fine. Since the body digests these foods slowly, the sugar in them provides a constant supply of energy to the cells.
Problems arise when we consume a lot of added refined sugar, which is found in many food products, such as: cakes, candies, syrups, juices, creams, chocolate, as well as in all foods that contain a large amount of refined sugar. These foods are poor in vitamins and minerals, they are the so-called "empty calories".
The frequent consumption of added sugars leads to metabolic imbalances, which favors the alteration of the lipid profile with an increase in triglycerides and weight gain, which then predisposes us to the appearance of diabetes.
A high intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grains has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer.
To maintain the sweet taste, sugar can be replaced either with fructose or with artificial sweeteners.
At the moment, something sweet can energize you, but immediately afterwards you will feel much more exhausted, because the body gets tired from the rapid consumption of energy. The solution is not to give in to the temptation to eat sweets, but to have healthy snacks.
Q. 3. Diabetes is a chronic condition from which approx. 2 million Romanians, according to the Predatorr study from 2014, which is a lot, and unfortunately it also affects young people. How can we control this disease?
A. Currently in Europe the prevalence of type 2 diabetes is 11.6% of the population, which means that one in ten Romanians suffers from diabetes. A series of prevention programs should be implemented, aimed at improving lifestyle, with emphasis on nutrition and physical activity. These are the main measures by which the incidence of diabetes can be reduced.
Q. 4. Does what we eat directly affect the weight loss process even if we also do sports?
A. Yes! Healthy eating and sports are two complementary components. We exercise for nothing if the food we eat is low in vitamins and minerals and far exceeds the amount of calories needed per day. Adopting a healthy diet and performing a constant physical activity lead to weight loss, maintain weight loss and promote well-being.
Q. 5. Is it good to add food supplements to our daily diet?
A. The consumption of food supplements is indicated only when the daily requirement is not covered.
There are a number of situations when food supplements are mandatory: during pregnancy, during lactation, in the case of food intolerances, restrictive diets, in the elderly, in case of neoplasias and kidney diseases.
But, if we have a healthy lifestyle, which includes a balanced and healthy diet, based on vegetables, fruits, eggs, meat, fish, fish oil, olive oil, oilseeds, constant physical activity and exposure to the sun for to synthesize vitamin D, we should not take food supplements.