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Your health

From the importance of a healthy heart and maintaining strong bones to what it means to suffer from diabetes, find out more about your diet's relationship with your health

Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition where the amount of sugars in the blood is too high because of low or missing insulin, the hormone needed to remove sugar from the blood.


There are two main types of diabetes:

Type 1
This usually occurs before the age of 40 and is often diagnosed in childhood. It's mostly an autoimmune condition where the body has damaged its own insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Type 1 is treated with insulin via an injection or a pump alongside a healthy diet and active lifestyle.

Type 2
The body is still able to produce some insulin but maybe not enough or the body can't respond to it properly. This is known as insulin resistance. It's most commonly diagnosed in people over 40 but it is becoming more common in very overweight UK children and teenagers. Type 2 can usually be treated with a healthy diet and physical activity but sometimes medication or insulin are required.

Healthy eating advice for those with diabetes is the same as to those without – a healthy balanced diet that’s low in fat, sugar and salt with plenty of activity. Choosing wholegrain, starchy carbohydrates such as oats, brown rice and brown pasta, as well as plenty of beans and pulses at each meal helps the body to digest food more slowly, which helps to reduce a rise in blood sugar. For more information visit Diabetes UK

To help balance your diet, choose foods from across our food hall which carry the Eat Well logo, as these are healthy choices.

Healthy heart

Heart health is a major public challenge and is among the top causes of premature death in UK. There are many ways to improve heart health, so we've pulled a few of the keys ones together.

  • Stopping smoking is the single best step towards a healthier heart and you'll quickly start to see improvements.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced, varied diet
  • Staying active helps maintain a healthy weight and reduce blood pressure, improving cholesterol – and your mood.
  • A healthy diet is not about limiting foods but choosing the right balance. Aim for at least five fruit and vegetables a day, choose lower fat dairy and swap foods that are high in saturated fat for those higher in unsaturated fats. This includes choosing olive oil spreads instead of butter. Try to also include foods rich in omega 3, such as oily fish.

Cholesterol
Over half of UK adults have a raised cholesterol, putting them at risk of coronary heart disease. Simple changes to your diet and lifestyle can make a big difference.

  • Reducing saturated fats and trans-fats as these increase your 'bad' cholesterol. Cutting down on foods such as butter, lard, pastries, fatty cuts of meat, cakes and chocolate will be a big step in the right direction.
  • Swapping for more unsaturated fats such as fish, plant oils, nuts and seeds.
  • Include more omega 3 as it's an important heart-healthy nutrient, commonly found in oily fish like salmon and mackerel, but not canned. Did you know our Lochmuir salmon has the highest omega 3 content, giving you your weekly omega 3 intake in one fillet?
  • Include more oats as they contain a fibre called beta glucan which helps to naturally lower cholesterol.

Blood pressure
Help support a healthy blood pressure by following a healthy diet which is low in salt and includes plenty of fruit and vegetables, being active each day and not smoking.

Find out more about heart health

Bone health

A healthy diet and active lifestyle helps to support strong healthy bones, reducing the risk of conditions such as osteoporosis. What’s known as peak bone mass is usually reached by 20 years of age, when our bones are at their strongest, which naturally reduces from age 40 onwards.


A healthy diet and lifestyle can help to support healthy bones. Choose plenty of fruit and vegetables, foods rich in calcium, such as low fat milk and yogurt, and vitamin D, such as oily fish and fortified foods. Did you know that all M&S breads and sandwiches contain vitamin D?

Smokers have a greater risk of bone loss than non-smokers.

Discover more at the National Osteoporosis Society website

Healthy aging

As we age, our activity levels can sometimes decline, making maintaining a healthy weight more difficult. Following the principles and proportions of the Eatwell plate is really important to keep your diet healthy.

Ensuring the foods you eat are nutrient dense will help you maintain a healthy weight, consuming adequate vitamins and minerals without intense activity. For people with smaller appetites, eating little and often is an important strategy.


Key nutrients to be included in your diet include:

  • Fibre – it's vital for good gut health and healthy bowel movements. Research shows that the majority of UK adults do not eat enough fibre, with recommended levels 25 per cent higher than the average intake. Fibre can be increase by eating plenty of wholegrains, such as bread and cereal, at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and an increase in fluids to help it pass through the body.

  • Salt – many adults consume more than the recommended daily average of salt. Too much salt increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and osteoporosis. A quick win to reduce your salt intake is to use herbs and spices to flavour your food as many already contain salt.

  • Iron – a lack can lead to iron-deficiency anaemia, causing symptoms such as tiredness, fatigue and poor concentration. Iron found in meat and fish is easily absorbed, while iron found in plant foods is less well absorbed. Including a mix of vitamin C rich foods in your diet will help the body to absorb the iron.

  • Calcium and vitamin D – both help to maintain bone strength. Vitamin D mostly comes from sunlight on the skin, while calcium is often consumed through dairy or dairy alternative products. As many people do not get enough vitamin D, a 10mcg supplement is recommended in the winter months for everyone.

Fluids
It's recommended that an average adult should consume around 6-8 (250ml) glasses of water per day, however this amount should be increased during physical activity or hot weather to avoid dehydration. Drinking water is the most effective but low-calorie drinks, fruit juices, reduced-fat milks and moderate amounts of tea and coffee are also fine.

How to age healthily

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