November is Diabetes Awareness Month where Canadians work together to bring awareness to diabetes, a disease that affects one in three Canadians. Today, those aged 20 now face a 50 percent chance of developing the disease.
Diabetes is a condition in which the body does not properly process food into energy. This may lead to other health conditions like heart disease and stroke. Diabetes can develop into one of three conditions: type-1, type-2 and prediabetes. 90% of diabetes cases are type-2 which can be controlled through healthy lifestyle changes including, healthy diets and exercise.
How do whole grains fit into the diabetes conversations?
Whole grains are full of necessary nutrients and provide many health benefits over refined grains. Choosing healthy whole grain options over refined grains can help manage blood sugar levels in a diabetes lifestyle and can also work to prevent the onset of type-2 diabetes.
What about carbohydrates increasing blood sugar levels?
When choosing grain products, it’s easy to forget that they are not all created equal. A whole-grain food product will help manage blood sugar levels whereas a refined-grain food option may cause blood sugar levels to start moving.
Furthermore, when choosing a carbohydrate food, choose a whole-grain option. Read your labels carefully and look for ingredients listed as whole grain (like whole barley, whole oats) and choose foods that contain whole grains to help maintain a healthy lifestyle.
“Whole-grain foods contain a variety of beneficial nutrients, and research shows they are associated with a decreased risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. For those with diabetes, choosing whole grains over refined grains can help to maintain optimum blood sugar readings“.
Also, whole grains have many other health benefits. They can help to promote bowel regularity, help lower cholesterol and can help with healthy blood pressure.
How can I incorporate whole grains for Diabetes Awareness Month?
Worried about how to incorporate whole grains into your diet to reduce your risk and/or manage type-2 diabetes? Start off with small whole-grain changes- choose whole-grain food versus refined. Learn to cook grains in their whole state, to help eat more whole grain products. Make sure your getting a whole grain for breakfast like oatmeal, as it can help to regular blood sugars in the morning, whether low or high! Lastly, choose whole grain recipes that are tasty, healthy and easy to make. Diabetes Canada has many diabetes-friendly recipes including an Apricot Oat Muffin recipe and Whole Wheat Biscuits.