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Attention Type 2 Diabetics: Beans May Be Your Best Medicine
The humble bean has been getting a lot of press lately. This is due to the exciting results of a University of Toronto research study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine on October 22, 2012.
The primary take away message of this research study is that beans can significantly reduce average blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics. The study also demonstrated that beans reduce blood pressure in type 2 diabetics.
High blood sugar is the main symptom of type 2 diabetes. High blood sugar is also what causes most of the complications of type 2 diabetes, namely cardiovascular issues like heart attacks, strokes, retinopathy (blindness caused by damage to the tiny vessels in the eye), neuropathy (damage to nerves), nephropathy (damage to the tiny vessels in the kidneys), and amputations due to vessel and nerve damage in the extremities. High blood sugar destroys the smallest blood vessels and this in turn causes the various cardiovascular defects found in diabetes patients.
The University of Toronto study involved 121 clinical participants who had all be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The participants were divided into two groups. Both were placed on a healthy diet but one group ate mostly wheat fiber and the other group got their fiber from eating one cup of beans a day. After three months, every participant’s blood sugar was tested using a blood test called the HbA1c test. This test is considered the most accurate blood sugar test available today and it measures the average blood sugar for the last three months.
The results were very impressive. The HbA1c results were significantly better in the group that ate beans versus the group that ate wheat fiber, although both showed improvement due to eating a healthier diet. Beans were the clear winner over wheat in this study. However, since this study was funded in part by the Saskatchewan bean growers, more studies will be needed for everyone to accept the data.
There are many easy ways to add beans to your diet. One way is to throw a few beans into your salad. Beans also make a delicious soup and there are so many varieties of beans, you can never get bored dreaming up new bean soup recipes. Chili is a very popular dish often made with beans and perfect for the cold winter days coming up over the next few months. Of course, beans can also be added to tortillas and many Mexican dishes.
The rate of type 2 diabetes is rising at epidemic proportions in the United States and in other western nations. In fact, the United States Centers For Disease Control and Prevention predicts that approximately one-third of all adults will have type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes by year 2030. it is estimated that having type 2 diabetes cuts an average of ten to fifteen years off your lifespan due to the various complications.
Researchers are racing the clock to determine methods that can be used to prevent type 2 diabetes and also to keep blood sugar under control once a person has been diagnosed with it. It looks like adding more beans to your diet may be one very effective way to do this.
Stefano Virgili writes on various health topics such as physical therapy and enjoys bringing new health information to the public.