Moms around the world are celebrating a victory for every time they told us to “eat our vegetables.” That’s because a new study has been added to the growing volume of studies proving that plant-based diets low in or devoid of animal protein can substantially reduce the risk of serious disease. The latest in the long line of studies found that a healthy vegetarian diet substantially reduces type 2 diabetes risk.
Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Published in the online medical journal PLOS Medicine researchers assessed the diets of 200,727 people to determine a possible dietary link to diabetes. The researchers found that a healthy vegetarian diet substantially reduced diabetes risk. They also assessed the health level of the diet, ranking whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and tea and coffee as healthier options than other foods. The researchers concluded that “…plant-based diets, especially when rich in high-quality plant foods, are associated with substantially lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Eat Less Meat
An earlier large-scale study comparing the eating habits of diabetics to non-diabetics published in the medical journal Diabetologia found that a diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in processed meat, sugar-sweetened beverages, and refined grains may lower diabetes risk. Discover more health benefits of vegetarianism in the article “7 Types of Vegetarianism and Their Environmental and Health Benefits.”
Skip the Soda
Eating more fruits and vegetables and less meat and refined grains are important ways to reduce diabetes risk. Other research found that drinking only one can of sugary soda daily can increase the risk of diabetes by 22 percent. Conversely, cutting out soda can have a huge impact on diabetes risk as well. Choosing soda sweetened with artificial sweeteners is not a healthy alternative to sugary soda, as artificially sodas have been linked to many serious health conditions. Of course, it is still best to reduce other sugary foods and beverages in your diet to reduce your diabetes risk.
Add Milk Thistle to Your Plate
Most people may think of the herb milk thistle as a liver-boosting herb, if they think of it at all. But, exciting research in the medical journal Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, and Obesity, found that an extract of milk thistle was able to improve numerous markers of the conditions for which the journal is named, including: reducing triglycerides, LDL cholesterol (often considered the harmful cholesterol), and blood sugar levels. Few of the medicinal properties of milk thistle are extracted in water, so herbal teas with this particular herb are not the best option. Instead, choose an alcohol-based extract known as a tincture. Follow package directions. If you are already diabetic choose capsules or glycerin-extracts instead.
Include Nettles in Your Diet
Exciting research in the journal Neuroscience Letters found that nettles showed tremendous capacity to assist many of the health issues linked to diabetes, including: reducing high blood sugar levels, reducing the symptom of excessive thirst, improving body weight, regulating insulin levels, reducing the pain of neuropathy, and even improving memory and cognition. While the research using nettles for diabetes is still in its infancy, these impressive results suggest that the herb holds great promise for the disease. Fresh nettles are available in the spring time at an increasing number of farmer’s markets and grocery stores. Add fresh or dried nettles (handle with gloves if using the fresh herb to avoid its hair-like stingers) to soups or stews. You can also make a tea using one teaspoon of dried herb per cup of boiled water and allow to steep for at least 10 minutes. Add twice the amount of fresh herb if using fresh nettles. Alternatively, choose a nettles tincture and follow package directions.