If you're already living with diabetes or metabolic syndrome, you should avoid carbohydrate-rich foods. However, whole grains can substantially lower the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. 100% whole grains retain the bran and germ, which hold the majority of nutrients. These nutrient compounds - which include vitamin B1, B2, B3, E, folic acid, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, iron and fiber - are referred to as complex carbohydrates. They take longer for the body to break down, allowing for higher nutrient absorption and slower delivery of sugar into the body. Processing strips the bran and germ from the grain and later adds synthetic imposters at a fraction of the original nutritional content. These processed grains are simple carbohydrates, which break down more quickly in the body and can negatively impact a variety of body processes.
Recent research clearly links refined grains with weight gain, as well as a heightened risk of developing insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. Whole grains are rich in magnesium and phytochemicals, and may help improve insulin sensitivity, as well as protect against the development of chronic degenerative diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and varicose veins; and diseases of the colon. Only a handful of whole grains, from a pool of thousands, play a significant role in the human diet. Corn, oats, rice and wheat are the most prevalent whole grains, but you can always mix up your diet with these additional options:
- Amaranth seeds
- Barley flakes, hulled, or pearl
- Millet, hulled
- Oats - bran, groats, rolled, steel-cut
- Rice - brown basmati, brown long-grain, brown quick, brown short-grain
- Rice - wild
Whole Wheat. The World's Healthiest Foods.
Murray, N.D., Michael, Pizzorno, N.D., Joseph and Pizzorno, Lara. 2005. New York, NY: Atria Books. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods.
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