The health switch: 5 Changes you can make to keep your heart in good shape

OCTOBER 27, 2022

health switch heart good shape

Managing type 2 diabetes has become a global public health challenge. Diabetes has quadrupled from 108 million cases in 1980 to 422 million in 2014. Complications have also increased. The number of Filipinos with diabetes has risen from 3.4 million in 2010 to 3.7 million in 2017. Every day, at least 100 people die due to diabetes-related acute or chronic complications, such as heart disease. (1) According to the Philippine Heart Association, more than 32 percent of those with type 2 diabetes have cardiovascular complications, while more than 87 percent are either overweight or obese. As we celebrate Philippine Heart Month this February, it’s an opportune time to look into how we can protect our hearts.

The risk of developing type 2 diabetes depends on a combination of risk factors, such as genetics and lifestyle. Even though you cannot alter risk factors like genetics, age, and ethnicity, you can affect lifestyle risk factors such as diet, physical activity, and weight. Lifestyle changes can help reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and manage possible complications. (2)

Here are five quick and easy lifestyle “switches” you can do today.

Switch to whole foods. The consumption of processed foods high in fat, sodium, sugars, and other additives often contributes to heart disease and obesity. (3)  Try making some substitutions. For example, you can try 100% whole-wheat bread instead of white bread. Whole-wheat bread is rich in fiber which is good for the heart and helps improve digestion.

Switch your drink. Make water your drink of choice when you’re thirsty instead of sodas or sugary juices. (4) Switching from morning Frappuccinos to drip-brewed coffee can reduce calorie intake. You can also try water with slices of lemon or water infused with fruits for more variety.

Switch your plate. Evidence suggests that sizes of plates, spoons, and glasses can unconsciously influence how much food someone eats. (5) For example, using large plates can make food appear smaller – often leading to overeating. By switching to a smaller serving spoon, bowl, or plate, you can reduce the helping of food and prevent overeating. Additionally, be mindful of the food on your plate. A diet high in fruits and vegetables can make you feel full while consuming fewer calories. Include them in your meals and snacks. Mindful eating is an easy way to make your dishes healthier and tastier.

Switch your snacks. Health experts found that most snacking patterns could lead to an increased risk of obesity and heart disease. (6) Consuming starchy snacks high in white potatoes or other starches after any meal was associated with at least a 50% increased risk of mortality and a 44-57% increased risk of CVD-related mortality. On the other hand, eating fruits, vegetables, or dairy at specific meals reduces the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cancer, or any cause. (7) Trail mix is a snack containing dried fruit and nuts. Depending on the type of nuts and fruits used, it can be a tasty treat if you’re craving sweet and salty. Trail mix packs are readily available in supermarkets. 

Switch your couch. Two years into the pandemic, people have realized that staying at home may lead to inactivity. Some people who work from home may even sit more on their work chairs. (8) Being active does not mean you have to play a sport or strain through a workout. You do not have to buy expensive exercise equipment. As recommended, just make sure to least have 150- minute of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75-minute of vigorous aerobic activity weekly. Choose three to four cardio exercises like jumping jacks, jogging in place, step-ups, mountain climbers, burpees, and jumping rope. Then choose three strength training exercises: pushups, planks, abdominal crunches, tricep dips, wall sits, lunges, and squats. 

Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is not the end of the line. Your doctor may prescribe insulin, other injectable medications, or oral diabetes medicines to help manage your blood sugar and avoid complications like cardiovascular disease. In addition, there are innovative treatment options for diabetes care. Managing diabetes can be challenging, but everything you do to improve your health, even as simple as switching your regular choices to a healthier alternative, is worth it!

Novo Nordisk Philippines strengthens its commitment to pioneering scientific breakthroughs, expanding access to medicines, and driving change in diabetes, obesity and chronic diseases in the country. The leading global healthcare company stands alongside the Filipino family battling diabetes: recognizing the progress that has been made in their lives made possible by scientific innovation and unconditional support from their loved ones; addressing challenges to improve access and affordability of insulin for every Filipino living with diabetes; and partnering with multiple stakeholders to help bend the curve down to the grassroots by preventing diabetes at the onset.

For Novo Nordisk Philippines, supporting the entire diabetes patient journey from prevention all the way to cure is the best way to show kalingang may pagmamahal on the path to better diabetes care and more medical innovations, fueled by a vision of a healthy, diabetes-free Philippines. For more details about Novo Nordisk’s commitment to diabetes care, visit or


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