There tends to be confusion surrounding the role of grains in a diabetes diet; however, there's no doubt that whole grains—with their bran and germ intact—can be one of the best nutrient-dense carb sources for people with diabetes. While it's generally recommended that people consume at least half of their grains as whole grains, according to the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes may especially benefit from adhering to this guideline, since processed grains don't protect against chronic diseases like obesity and heart disease, and may disrupt blood sugar control. Here are a few more reasons to include whole grains in your diabetes diet:
- Fiber. Whole grains are a source of dietary fibers which may contribute to improved blood sugar control, encourage the expansion of colonies of beneficial gut bacteria, and help regulate the immune system and reduce inflammation.
- Micronutrients. Whole grains contain B vitamins and vitamin E, and a standard serving of amaranth, oats, or quinoa provides half or more of the iron you need each day. Whole grains in general are good sources of magnesium, with buckwheat and quinoa standing out as excellent sources.
- Phenolic compounds. Phenolic compounds like ferulic acid, and an array of other phytochemicals, such as zeaxanthin and lutein, are common components of whole grains that add to their antioxidant effects.
Speak with your healthcare practitioner about how many carbohydrate servings you should be getting each day, and then try replacing processed grain foods—especially those with added sugars, fats, and sodium—with whole grains and whole grain products to help improve your nutritional status and your long-term health.
Source: Diabetes Care