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Increased vegetable intake may reduce diabetes risk

September 2, 2010

Increasing consumption of green leafy vegetables may reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes, according to a new UK meta-analysis.

The meta-analysis included six observational studies with a total of 223,512 people, aged from 25 to 70, measuring the intake of fruit and/or vegetables as well as data on the incidence of type 2 diabetes (1). While no significant benefits of increasing the consumption of vegetables, fruit, or fruit and vegetables combined were shown, a greater intake of green leafy vegetables was associated with a 14 percent lower risk of type-2 diabetes. The researchers suggest that the benefits of the vegetables may be linked to their content of antioxidants, such as beta-carotene and vitamin C, and magnesium.

Experts concluded that the results support the growing body of evidence that lifestyle modification is an important factor in the prevention of type 2 diabetes. Further investigations are needed to understand the mechanisms involved in the proposed relation between green leafy vegetables and diabetes risk. Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale and broccoli, should be incorporated into the diet as one of the five recommended portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

References

  1. Carter P. et al. Fruit and vegetable intake and incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus: systematic review and meta-analysis. British Medical Journal. 2010.