According to a recent report from the University of Leicester, a diet rich in green leafy vegetables may reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Those who eat 120 grams of green leafy vegetables per day are 14% less likely to develop the condition than people who ate the least amount of this type of vegetable.
Like with many studies the evidence is not conclusive, it is not possible to make the distinction between the direct benefits of eating leafy veg and other elements in the individuals lifestyle that coincide with eating leafy veg. Is it that the research has found that particular compounds within the leafy veg are the benefit or simply that those who eat 120 grams of leafy veg per day simply have a healthier diet and lifestyle all round.
It is true that making the right lifestyle choices and eating a healthier diet could reduce the risk of diabetes. For those at risk, increasing their level of physical activity, upping their intake of vegetables, fruit and whole grain cereals and whilst reducing the total intake of saturated fats has been known to reduce the risk by up to 60%.
The report combined the population in the six studies used in the research with a combined total population of 223,512. Of the six studies only two included a male contingent. The participants ranged from 30 to 74 and had been followed for the purpose of the study for between 4.6 and 23 years.
However, the pooled data from four studies that assessed the consumption of green leafy vegetables and the risk of developing diabetes showed that 1.35 servings a day (the highest intake) compared with 0.2 servings (lowest intake) resulted in a 14% reduction in risk.
At this point, it is not possible to say whether the reduced risk of type 2 diabetes associated with eating more green leafy vegetables is due to compounds found in these vegetables or because people who eat more leafy vegetables have a healthier diet in general.
The sensible approach is to promote a balanced overall approach to a healthier diet and lifestyle, a lifestyle and diet which does not focus around one food item but a well-rounded approach to health living including exercise and a balanced diet.
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