Oatmeal

**All videos are done by Dr. Michael Greger M.D. to learn more about Dr. Greger please visit his website or his YouTube channel by click here.

Some have debated the inclusion of oatmeal in the diet of patients suffering from type 2 diabetes due to its carbohydrate content; however, oatmeal can be very beneficial to one’s health when consumed in moderation. It has been known to improve cholesterol, help promote cardiovascular health, and regulate the content of blood sugar and insulin levels. All of these concerns are vastly important to patients suffering from adult-onset diabetes.

Cardiovascular Health

One of the more extreme side effects of type 2 diabetes is the onset of dangerous heart conditions. The risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular defects can be lessened through the consumption of oatmeal due to its high potassium content. Potassium lessens the chance of hypertensive tendencies, which are especially prevalent in diabetics who also suffer from obesity. In addition, potassium benefits the health of the circulatory system, which is directly related to cardiovascular concerns. Potassium can help to alleviate blood pressure while also strengthening the blood vessels against inflammation. This helps to prevent a condition known as arteriosclerosis, in which the arteries become hardened. All of these benefits in combination with one another result in a greatly reduced risk of heart disease.

Improved Cholesterol

High cholesterol can lead to diabetes, while diabetes can also lead to high cholesterol. This means that whether a person is trying to treat their current diabetic condition or simply prevent the onset of diabetes altogether, the improvement of cholesterol levels is a primary consideration. Oatmeal’s high fiber content is vital to lowering cholesterol levels. Dietary fibers enter the intestines, where they bond with cholesterol and help prevent absorption. Luckily, this effect only seems to apply to LDL, or bad cholesterol. Good cholesterol, HDL, continues to be absorbed without hindrance. Not only does this promote a better sense of overall health, it also helps the patient to lose weight.

Blood Sugar

Oatmeal is one of many foods that can be consumed by patients suffering from type 2 diabetes due to its low glycemic index. In other words, its consumption is not likely to result in blood sugar spikes. Because oatmeal is rather thick, it does not digest quickly. This means that blood sugar is not quickly absorbed. Since the carbohydrates in oatmeal are not processed as quickly as those in some other foods in the same food group, they are not as threatening to patients suffering from diabetes as other sources of carbohydrates have been known to be. Instead, they help to keep blood sugar regulated at relatively consistent levels.

Insulin

Since oatmeal promotes stability in blood sugar levels, the body does not need to produce as much insulin to help metabolize it. Insulin shots can empty the pockets of a diabetes patient rather quickly if they are needed on a regular basis, so a decreased need for insulin production is beneficial in both health-related and financial concerns. Since patients with adult-onset diabetes are also prone to increased insulin resistance, this reduced need can help to ensure that the insulin produced does not go to waste.

Cautions

The fact that oats are comprised largely of carbohydrates is a valid concern. For patients whose condition is worse than others, this may present a risk. On the other hand, the slow rate of digestion will help many average patients with diabetes to metabolize oatmeal in a way that allows them to benefit from the many nutritional benefits it has to offer. Since the effects of oatmeal might be beneficial to one person yet harmful to another, it is best to consult a nutritionist who specializes in the dietary concerns of patients with type 2 diabetes to help determine whether or not oatmeal is a proper source of healthy nutrients.

Author: hilley
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