Eating quinoa every day could help prevent type 2 diabetes, research suggests.
Spanish experts tested the effects of the ‘superfood’ by recruiting nine people over the age of 65 who had prediabetes.
Pre-diabetes occurs when blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not yet at the levels to be formally diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.
Volunteers were given meals three times a day that swapped potatoes, rice or legumes for quinoa.
At the same time, they were given foods made from quinoa flour, such as pasta, cakes, bread and cookies.
Blood sugar monitoring showed they suffered lower spikes after eating while on the special diet.
A study by the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya in Barcelona has stated that quinoa can help prevent type 2 diabetes in people at higher risk of developing the disease
He found that those who ate the nutrient-dense grain had lower spikes in blood glucose after meals. Graph shows: post-meal blood sugar levels in people eating regular diets (black line) and quinoa-rich diets (red)
WHAT IS TYPE 2 DIABETES?
Type 2 diabetes is a disease that causes a person’s blood sugar to become too high.
More than 4 million people in the UK are thought to have some form of diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is associated with being overweight, and you may be more likely to have it if it runs in your family.
The condition means that the body does not react properly to insulin, the hormone that controls the absorption of sugar into the blood, and cannot properly regulate blood sugar glucose levels.
Excess fat in the liver increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, as the accumulation makes it harder to control glucose levels and also makes the body more resistant to insulin.
Weight loss is the key to reducing fatty liver and controlling symptoms.
Symptoms include tiredness, feeling thirsty, and frequent urination.
It can cause more serious problems with the nerves, vision and heart.
Treatment usually involves changing your diet and lifestyle, but more severe cases may require medication.
Source: NHS Choices; Diabetes.co.uk
The researchers said this could be “crucial” in preventing type 2 diabetes.
The micronutrient content of quinoa, compared to bread, rice or potatoes, is thought to help slow down the digestion process, causing a slower rise in glucose.
Type 2 diabetes affects approximately 2 million people in the UK and 37 million in the US.
Seventy percent of prediabetics develop the full-blown disease, which can kill if left untreated.
Currently, doctors recommend that affected people change their diet and exercise more to lose weight to prevent the onset of type 2.
The study, published in Nutrients, followed nine prediabetics for eight weeks to see how changing their diets to include quinoa, which is rich in folate, magnesium, zinc and iron, affected their condition.
During the first four weeks, they were asked to maintain their usual diet, with weight, BMI and waste measurements recorded.
They recorded what they ate and were fitted with a Freestyle Libre glucose monitoring system, which tracks blood levels throughout the day.
On the 28th, the researchers took blood samples to see how their blood sugar levels rose after an eight-hour fast.
Over the next four weeks, the study was repeated, but the volunteers were switched to the quinoa-rich diet.
However, the study did not specify exactly how much quinoa each individual ate during the four weeks.
Dr Diaz Rizzolo, from the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya in Barcelona, said: “We compared blood sugar patterns and found that when the participants had eaten quinoa, their peak blood sugar was lower than with your usual diet.
“This is crucial because these spikes in blood sugar after meals are a determining factor in the progression of type 2 diabetes.”
The polyphenols in quinoa are thought to be the reason why eating it can help reduce blood sugar spikes.
The micronutrient, which is also found in most vegetables, fruits and teas, helps slow the digestion of carbohydrates.
It also reduces the absorption of glucose in the intestine and stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin, reversing the effect of type 2 diabetes.
When people eat carbohydrates, the food is broken down into blood sugar. This signals the pancreas to release insulin, which allows glucose to enter the body’s cells.
But over time, high blood sugar levels can cause insulin resistance.
Because insulin is not as effective at breaking down sugars, it causes the body to produce more and more.
Eventually, this causes the pancreas to wear out, throwing the system out of whack and causing blood sugar levels to remain high.
#Type #diabetes #eating #quinoa #day #prevent #disease