Health Tips: Going with the grain

Farma Darya

Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Mike Roizen

Amaranth, barley, buckwheat, bulgur, corn, einkorn (an ancient wheat), farro, freekeh (freaky?), Kamut (it’s trademarked), kaniwa, millet (includes pearl millet, foxtail millet, proso millet, finger millet/ragi, and fonio), oats, quinoa, rice, rye, sorghum, spelt (huh?), teff (double huh?), wheat and wild rice. That’s the Whole Grains Council’s list of cereal grains — and while you may not have heard of them all, they make up a great menu of high-fiber, heart-loving choices.

Enjoying grains — steel-cut oats for breakfast, barley in your soup at lunch, and quinoa in a dinner stir-fry — is an effective way to reduce bodywide inflammation and cut your risk for cardiovascular disease. That’s the conclusion of research published in JAMA Open Network. Investigators looked at the healthy-heart benefits of the fiber in cereal grains, vegetables and fruit, and found that only cereal was consistently associated with reduced levels of inflammation — reducing CRP (C-reactive protein) by 14%, for example. They also found that cereals are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases. Increasing your intake of fiber by just 5 grams a day has great benefits.

But the anti-inflammatory powers of cereals aren’t the only way grains protect your heart — eating more grains knocks less healthy foods off your plate and improves your gut biome, too. The Cleveland Clinic recommends three to six servings a day and suggests you make sure to eat only 100% whole-wheat pasta and 100% whole-grain cereals (no sugar, syrup or honey added). So go with the 100% whole grain!

Stop the cascade of diabetes-associated health challenges

In 1736, Ben Franklin cautioned his fellow Philadelphians that when it came to fire prevention, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That advice is still good today when it comes to stopping the health problems that uncontrolled (or unreversed) Type 2 diabetes can ignite.

A new study presented at the 2022 Diabetes U.K. Professional Conference found that folks with Type 2 diabetes develop chronic conditions more often and earlier than people without the metabolic disease. Overall, for the 1.4 million folks who researchers looked at, eye and genitourinary problems were diagnosed around eight years earlier, and circulatory and neurologic conditions around six years earlier. There was also a 9% increased risk for cancers. However, for folks diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes before the age of 50, the risks are amplified: They develop the highest-risk conditions 10 to 15 years earlier than people without diabetes. People diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in their 60s develop them five years earlier than nondiabetic peers. 

If you’ve been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, you can control or even reverse it with smart lifestyle choices: no red meats or highly processed foods, no added fructose, sugars or syrups, no simple carbs, a plant-based diet, good sleep and stress-management habits, daily exercise and medication as needed. So don’t delay taking charge of your diabetes. Work with a diabetes educator and a nutritionist, and dive into “The Great Age Reboot” (my new book, out soon). You can live younger, longer and stronger. Questions? Write to me at [email protected].,9120

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