They’re a common part of traditional diets in India and Latin America, but in western repasts, legumes or pulses — that’s lentils, dried beans, and chick peas — have generally been a culinary afterthought. That may soon change, however, thanks to new research suggesting legumes alone can improve the health of diabetics.
The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicines, was funded in part by an association of legume farmers and confirms that simply changing what they eat can help diabetics reduce some of their symptoms, as well as lower their risk of heart disease — in as little as a few months.
Chick peas, lentils, and beans are all high in fiber and vegetable protein, and they’re not too calorie-dense.
Starting in 2010, researchers in Toronto, Canada, enrolled 121 patients with Type 2 diabetes and tested their blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and more.
After three months, the patients were tested again on the same measures. Both the legume-eaters and the whole-wheat-eaters saw a reduction in their hemoglobin A1c values. But that reduction was slightly larger among the legume group than among the whole-what group: 0.5% compared to 0.3%.
The results confirm previous findings that showed changes in diet can reduce diabetes symptoms and protect patients from more severe complications of the disease. In 2002, a large government trial found that overweight people on the verge of developing diabetes could dramatically lower their risk of the disease by changing their diet and exercising more. And in 2008, David Jenkins, one of the current study’s lead authors, published similar results that demonstrated the strong benefits of a diet high in vegetables, fruit, nuts, flaxseed, and, yes, legumes.
Jenkins, a nutrition expert at the University of Toronto, is credited with developing the idea of the glycemic index (GI) — a measure of how quickly different foods, when eaten, may cause a person’s blood sugar to rise. While controversial — some nutrition experts aren’t convinced it’s a reliable way to measure the impact of food on blood sugar — that index has become a popular guideline for both health organizations and the creators of commercial diet plans as a relatively simple way to think about healthy food. Jenkins and his colleagues say that low glycemic-index foods have been linked to improved blood-sugar control in patients with Type 2 diabetes. In their new article, they say that legume consumption is important to diabetics because “Legumes [...] were the first class of foods recognized as having low GI values.”
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See Mr. Divabetic’s nutrition game, Serve, Taste or Trash! You must decide which one you’d serve, which one you’d taste and which one you’d trash.
Before you decide to “trash” a veggie for good, why not try to eat it raw? Raw veggies can be more appetizing than their cooked counterparts to people who aren’t crazy about vegetables. The flavors of raw veggies can be milder than those of cooked ones.
Look who’s on the red tomato carpet with Mr. Divabetic at Plus Night Out -NYC
Meet Mr. Divabetic on his quest to glamorize good health at the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Expo in Pittsburgh, PA and the Taking Control Of Your Diabetes Conferences & Health Fairs in San Diego, CA.