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Which Green Foods Fight Type 2 Diabetes?

green vegetables for type 2 diabetes

If the thought of managing and treating type 2 diabetes makes you see red, how about fighting it with green? Several green foods have been shown to be beneficial in the fight against type 2 diabetes, as explained here.

Sprouts put up a fight against diabetes

A new study appearing in the Journal of Medicinal Food explains how broccoli sprouts, which contain a number of important bioactive compounds such as sulforaphane, can benefit people with type 2 diabetes. According to the researchers, individuals with type 2 diabetes who supplement with high sulforaphane broccoli sprouts experienced an increase in total antioxidant capacity and a decline in oxidative stress, triglycerides, oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL, the bad cholesterol)/LDL-cholesterol ratio, insulin resistance, and high-sensitive C-reaction protein—all indicators of type 2 diabetes risk.

This finding led the authors to conclude that “sulforaphane and probably other bioactive components of young broccoli sprouts makes it an excellent choice for supplementary treatment in type 2 diabetes.”

Other green foods for type 2 diabetes
Other green foods also can benefit individuals who have type 2 diabetes. Here are a few of them.

Barley grass. At the University of Minnesota, researchers evaluated the use of barley beta-glucan extract against blood lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides, both of which are often elevated in people with type 2 diabetes). Beta-glucan is a soluble fiber that has been shown to significantly lower LDL cholesterol.

In a group of 155 individuals, barley beta-glucan was supplemented in two forms: a cereal and a reduced-calorie fruit juice offering either 3 or 5 grams of the fiber. After six weeks, the average LDL cholesterol levels declined by 15 percent in the 3 gram group and 13 percent in the 5 gram group, with similar results for total cholesterol.

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Avocado. This fruit is an excellent source of monounsaturated fat, a type of good fat. Although avocado is high in calories, this fruit is an excellent source of monounsaturated fat, a type of good fat. Be sure to enjoy small amounts of avocado often: slices in a tossed green salad served with lemon and olive oil or as guacamole dip with fresh veggies are both favorites.

A study appearing in Diabetes Care looked at the effect of a diet enriched with avocado in 12 patients with type 2 diabetes. The participants were randomly assigned to consume two different diets alternatively during two 4-week periods: one was high in monounsaturated fats (including avocado) and the other was high in complex carbohydrates. A four-week washout period was observed between the two dietary periods.

Although participants experienced a decline in cholesterol during both diets, the monounsaturated diet with avocado was associated with a greater decline in triglycerides (20% vs 7%). Both diets also achieved similar glycemic control. The researchers concluded that monounsaturated fatty acids (with avocado) in patients with type 2 diabetes “improves the lipid profile favorably, maintains an adequate glycemic control, and offers a good management alternative.”

Kale (and other greens). Several studies have indicated that eating kale and other leafy green vegetables is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. In the British Journal of Nutrition, for example, a systematic review and meta-analysis of six studies revealed that eating more green leafy vegetables in particular was associated with a reduced risk (14%) of getting diabetes.

A Tulane University study looked at the impact of eating green leafy vegetables, fruit, and fruit juice on development of type 2 diabetes among more than 71,000 women. Researchers found that eating green leafy vegetables and fruit was associated with a lower risk of diabetes.

Green vegetables can be enjoyed in a wide variety of ways, from fresh salads to smoothies and juices, whipped into dips, mixed into soups, and added to casseroles. To help with the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes, go green foods.

Bahadoran Z et al. Potential efficacy of broccoli sprouts as a unique supplement for management of type 2 diabetes and its complications. Journal of Medicinal Food 2013 Apr 30
Bazzano LA et al. Intake of fruit, vegetables, and fruit juices and risk of diabetes in women. Diabetes Care 2008 Jul; 31(7): 1311-17
Carter P et al. Fruit and vegetable intake and incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus: systematic review and meta-analysis. British Medical Journal 2010; 31:c4229
Keenan JM et al. The effects of concentrated barley beta-glucan on blood lipids in a population of hypercholesterolaemic men and women. British Journal of Nutrition 2007 Jun; 97(6): 1162-68
Lerman-Garber I et al. Effect of a high-monounsaturated fat diet enriched with avocado in NIDDM patients. Diabetes Care 1994 Apr; 17(4):311-15

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