They say eating too much food causes diabetes. Or they say, reduce your food intake so you will not develop diabetes. But why are we advised to eat these power foods to fight diabetes? Isn’t diabetes all about eating a lot? What is diabetes, by the way?
Diabetes has long been regarded as the accumulation of too much sugar in the body. But this is such a rudimentary notion. Diabetes is not just about sugar accumulation, it is also about another factor – insulin.
There are three major food nutrients that our body needs: carbohydrates, fat and protein. This is written in this order because that is how our body successively utilizes the said nutrients. First, carbohydrates, in its simplest form, glucose, are used by the body as fuel. When glucose is absent, fats are broken down into fatty acids; and lastly, protein through amino acids is utilized. In order for the cells to use glucose as food, it needs insulin. Insulin serves as a key. Without insulin, glucose flowing through the bloodstream, or the blood sugar, accumulates and cause several symptoms of diseases, which are called diabetes. Producing the insulin is the pancreas. Sometimes, the pancreas is impaired that it cannot produce enough insulin. But sometimes, even if the pancreas can produce enough insulin, the cells are unresponsive to the instructions of insulin. Both are the common reasons why diabetes develops.
There are various ways to reduce the risk of developing diabetes. One of them is by eating these power foods that have been studied and had been found to help in lowering the risk of developing Diabetes Mellitus.
For those who are diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, a joint research by the University of Toronto and St. Michaels’ Hospital showed that eating at least 2 ounces of nuts every day to replace carbohydrates can help in the control of glucose as well as lipid. Whether it is roasted, raw, mixed or unsalted, nuts, such as walnuts, those who ate them in the study has lowered their glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c). HbA1c is the long-term marker that the body was able to control its glucose. Additionally, they also showed that their LDL cholesterol is reduced.
Linum usitatissimum, or flaxseeds, have several health benefits. Larger than sesame seeds, flaxseeds is rich in omega-3-fatty acids, manganese and dietary fiber. Its ability to fight diabetes is due to its omega-3-fatty acids. These precious fatty acids are able to generate a cell membrane that is highly flexible. With flexible cell membranes, it is able to respond effectively to the instructions of insulin. Because of that, glucose is greatly absorbed and glucose in the bloodstream is reduced.
Just a cup of lentils can already provide you with daily value of 198 percent molybdenum, 89.5 percent folate, 62.6 percent dietary fiber and about 50 percent of manganese and tryptophan. The power of lentils in fighting diabetes is in its ability to stabilize the blood sugar levels of the body. This is due to the high fiber content of lentils.
In a study published in the British Medical Journal, it affirmed that those who increase the amount of green leafy vegetables in their diet has lowered their risk in developing type 2 diabetes by at least 14 percent. There is still a blur as to what cause this, but there are indications that it is due to the green vegetable’s high antioxidant content. Additionally, the high magnesium contained in green vegetables also helped in lowering diabetes risk.
Dates may be very sweet, in fact, chopped and powdered dates are being used as artificial sweeteners in several location. But despite its sweetness, dates have the power to control diabetes. The high glucose and fructose contained in dates are not necessarily harmful since they can easily be utilized as energy. Additionally, dates have the roughage necessary to control the blood sugar, while providing the needed energy of the body.
Among the berries that can lower diabetic risk are the blueberries and the strawberries. In a research that was presented during the conference of Experimental Biology in 2009, there are indications of the potential of blueberries to fight diabetes. Although tested on the rats, the experiment showed that by eating blueberries, belly fat is reduced, there is lowered total cholesterol and triglycerides, and the sensitivity of glucose and insulin after fasting is greatly improved. As for strawberries, studies showed that those who are ingesting daily strawberries have lowered risk of developing type 2 diabetes, perhaps because of its polyphenols that can help in regulating the blood sugar and insulin responses.
It is the beta-glucan that is implicated in the diabetes-fighting power of oatmeal. When two groups were compared, those are given oatmeal regularly and those that are given rice or bread, the first group showed a slow rise in blood sugar levels. Aside from being fiber-rich and being able to control cholesterol levels, oatmeal is highly effective as an early morning blood sugar stabilizing food.
A study conducted by HealthGrain has shown that barley’s indigestible carbohydrates are able to regulate glucose by utilizing the mechanism that ferments the microorganisms found in the intestines. During the fermenting process, a hormone from the intestine called GLP-1 is released. GLP-1 lowered the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, such as diabetes, and activated the satiety benefits. Not only will GLP-1 cause antiobesity and antidiabetes, it also lowered the person’s appetite, thereby controlling his blood sugar levels.
Tuna is mostly known for protecting the body from developing cardiovascular disease. But tuna is also effective in the regulation of insulin and lowering the tendency of obesity. This is due to tuna’s high omega-3-fatty acids content, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which has the ability to accelerate the secretion of leptin. Leptin is actually a hormone that can help in the regulation of food intake, metabolism and body weight.
Still the culprit in many of salmon’s health benefits is its high omega-2-fatty acids content. In a study of the Yup’ik people in Alaska who are having salmon-rich diet, their prevalence of developing adult-onset diabetes, or the type-2 diabetes is lower compared to those who have low intake of salmon. In the study, it would seem that the recommendation is to increase the intake of foods rich in omega-3-fatty acids for better control of sugar and insulin.