Nutrition, Uncategorized

Other Whole Grains

By now you’ve probably heard about the many health benefits of whole grains (and hopefully started making half your grains whole grains).  Brown rice, quinoa and whole wheat bread are some of the go-to whole grain options but there are many, many other kinds to choose from.  Here are some other types of whole grains to try.

Barley

Barley is a really good source of fiber.  In fact, it has the most fiber of all the whole grains.  Barley has been shown to help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and keep blood sugar stable.  When shopping for barley, look for hulled barley rather than “pearled” barley.  Although pearled barley cooks much faster (about 30 minutes vs. an hour for hulled barley), pearled barley has had much of the bran scraped off.  Without the bran, it is no longer considered a whole grain.

Serving ideas:  Barley can be eaten alone as a hot cereal, used to thicken soups and stews, or as a substitute for rice.

Buckwheat

Like quinoa, buckwheat isn’t really a grain (it’s a seed).  It’s also not a type of wheat – it’s more closely related to rhubarb.  Buckwheat is high in protein and gluten-free, making it a good option for people with Celiac or other gluten sensitivity.  The kernels (called “groats”) cook in about 20 – 30 minutes.  If you’re short on time, look for toasted buckwheat groats (called “kasha”) which typically cooks in 15-20 minutes.

Serving ideas:  Cooked groats can be eaten alone in place of oatmeal, or added to salads or soups.  Buckwheat flower is used to make soba noodles.

Oats

Oats are a good source of fiber and are known to help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and blood pressure.  Some different types of oats you may find in the store include oat groats, steel cut oats, and rolled oats.  The difference between each of these is how they’re processed.  Oat groats are whole oat kernels.  Steel cut oats are oat groats that have been cut into smaller pieces, while rolled oats are groats that have been steamed and flattened.  Processed oats cook faster, but here’s the good news:  all processed oats are still whole grains!  Even instant oatmeal counts as a whole grain, but read the nutrition facts label very carefully and choose brands that do not have a lot of added salt and sugar.

Serving idea:  Make up a batch of this Be Fit Power Granola for a healthy snack

One final thing to remember:  whole grains are still high in carbohydrate.  While you’re trying out new whole grain options, remember to pay attention to portion size.

 Content reviewed by Melanie Pearsall, RD, CDE
Diabetes ABCs

Diabetes ABCs: H

Hyperglycemia and Hypoglycemia
By Paula Cerqueira, Dietetic Intern

H

Hyperglycemia is the medical term for high blood sugar.  It occurs when the pancreas produces too little insulin, or when the body becomes resistant to insulin.  Hyperglycemia happens every now and then to all people living with diabetes.  If your blood glucose values are consistently running higher than the norm, talk with your healthcare provider.

Hypoglycemia is low blood sugar (< 70 mg/dL) and results from too much insulin and too little sugar in the blood. If blood glucose drops below 50 mg/dL, this could result in unconsciousness, a condition sometimes called insulin shock or coma.  Hypoglycemia can be caused by skipping or delaying meals, eating too few carbohydrates, exercising longer or more strenuously than normal, taking too much insulin and drinking alcohol.  It’s important to learn to identify the symptoms of hypoglycemia so you can treat it quickly.  Symptoms include: shakiness, dizziness, sweating, hunger, headache, pale skin color, sudden moodiness, seizure, and confusion.  Hypoglycemia can be treated by following the 15/15 guideline to raise blood glucose above 70 mg/dL – test blood sugar, consume 15 g of carbohydrate and test blood sugar in 15 minutes.  If blood sugar remains low, consume an additional 15 g of carbohydrate and test blood glucose in 15 minutes and then in 60 minutes. Once normal, consume a regular meal.  Fifteen grams of carbohydrate is about 4 oz of juice, 6 oz of soft drink, 5 hard candies, 4 glucose tablets, or 1 tablespoon sugar.

(Post reviewed by Debra Powers, MS, RD, CDE, LDN, Senior Clinical Nutritionist)