Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the body either cannot produce enough insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar, or cannot properly use the insulin it produces. Diabetes leads to high blood sugar levels, which in turn can damage organs, nerves and blood vessels.
People with diabetes are also at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, such as heart disease or stroke – nearly twice as often as people without diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) states that “nutrition is one of the most important pieces of the diabetes puzzle.” Being aware of the glycemic index foods and developing healthy meal plans, which include whole grains like oats, is an important key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and managing diabetes.
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a ranking of carbohydrate-rich foods according to their effect on blood glucose (sugar) levels. For example, a “high” GI food is one that is absorbed quickly, causing a rapid spike in blood sugar. The ADA ranks rolled oats and steel cut oats “low” on the Glycemic Index, making them good choices for anyone looking to manage their blood sugar.
Oats are also high in soluble fiber, which can help lower blood sugar levels by delaying digestion and slowing the entry of glucose into the bloodstream.
Along with diet and blood sugar levels, watching your blood pressure and monitoring your cholesterol is another important aspect of living with diabetes, and can also lower your risk of heart disease.
There are two types of cholesterol in your body: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol or “bad” cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol.
Cholesterol levels can be lowered by a low-fat diet that includes plenty of fresh vegetables and foods that are high in fiber, like oats. The soluble fiber in oats prevents cholesterol from being absorbed into the bloodstream, where it can attach to arterial walls and harden. Diabetics should be sure to include at least five to 10 grams of soluble fiber in their diet per day – about the amount in two servings of oats.
Managing diabetes, or the risk of developing diabetes, is not a once-a-day thing, and neither is eating oats. Don’t think of oats as just a breakfast food – they can be added to a variety of dishes for a great boost of fiber and nutrition at any time of day. Try a savory oat risotto, like this one with chorizo and broccoli, for a delicious way to increase your soluble fiber intake and help manage your diabetes.
Wake up your taste buds and increase your soluble fiber intake with this creamy oat risotto, topped with spicy chorizo and tender-crisp broccoli.
- 3/4 lb chorizo (340g)
- 2 cups water (500 ml)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (2.5 ml)
- 1 1/3 cups steel cut oats (335 ml)
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth (375 ml)
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese finely shredded, divided (125 ml)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil (10 ml)
- 2 cups broccoli florets (500 ml)
- 2 cups tomatoes diced (500 ml)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground (1 ml)
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt (.5 ml)
- 1/4 cup parsley fresh, to garnish, (60 ml)
- Slice the chorizo into 1/4” rounds.
- In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add steel cut oats and salt, stirring constantly until water returns to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes or until oats are tender, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in chicken broth and simmer, uncovered, for about 5 minutes or until mixture is creamy. Do not over cook.
Add 6 Tbsp of the parmesan cheese and stir until cheese is melted.
Meanwhile, in a large non-stick skillet sauté chorizo and broccoli in olive oil until chorizo is browned. Stir in tomatoes, pepper and the remaining 1/8 tsp salt.
- Divide risotto between four dishes and top with chorizo and broccoli. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and reserved cheese.