Fighting diabetes through access to healthy food

November 14 is World Diabetes Day and we commemorate it under the theme “Access to diabetes care”. The International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization began World Diabetes Day in 1991 in response to the growing health threat posed by diabetes. The date was chosen in honour of the birthday of Canadian Sir Frederick Banting, who jointly discovered insulin with Dr. Charles Best.

Almost 100 years after the first successful injection of insulin was given, millions of people around the world living with diabetes cannot access the needed care to manage the condition. According to a new WHO report, "Keeping the 100-year-old promise: making insulin access universal", there are several barriers to universal access to insulin. Currently, one out of every two type 2 diabetes patients does not have access to insulin. Three in four of all people affected by type 2 diabetes live in countries outside of Europe and North America such as Mexico but they make up less than 40% of the consumer base of insulin producers.

Aside access to insulin, the International Diabetes Federation has outlined access to healthy food and a safe place to exercise as one of the fundamental components of diabetes care. People living with or at risk of diabetes can include foods with a medium-low glycemic index such as oats to their diet and this will have a positive effect on their blood glucose levels. Studies suggest that a diabetes adapted diet containing oats can help lower insulin usage by up to 40%. This is because oats are full of complex carbohydrates, which digest slowly thus creating a more even effect on blood sugar levels. Oats are also a naturally rich source of beta-glucan, a soluble fiber which can help improve heart health, lower cholesterol, help lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes or manage the blood sugar of those already living with diabetes and help stimulate the immune system

The prevalence of diabetes in Mexico, at a rate of 35%, is among the highest in the world and it is said to be the leading cause of death in the country claiming nearly 80,000 lives each year. Since 2014, Emerging Ag has been managing the Avena Canada joint initiative of the Prairie Oats Growers Association (POGA) and the Government of Canada. Avena Canada has offered Mexicans healthy options over the years through their annual recipe contest, recipe books, and tips on cooking with oats as a fundamental way of promoting healthy lifestyles using their dedicated website, Facebook page, and YouTube channel. On this occasion, we unite in solidarity with the global diabetes community to say everyone should be able to live a normal life even with diabetes. We are grateful to be a part of those who contribute to making that a reality.

 

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