Legumes: how do they protect against diabetes?

Did you know that eating legumes has a protective effect against diabetes? Thanks to its important concentration of nutrients, which includes antioxidants, dietary fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals, regular consumption improves metabolic health and favors the regulation of blood glucose. In the next space we tell you more about it.

What is the diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disorder characterized by a mismatch in the way of metabolizing glucose. Insulin is the hormone responsible for bringing glucose into the body's cells.

On certain occasions, the body does not produce enough insulin, or it has trouble reacting to it. So Blood sugar levels remain elevated for a long time and diabetes appears.

High blood sugar levels are harmful in the long term, getting to cause complications such as eye, kidney, cardiac and neurological problems.

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when blood glucose levels rise well above normal. Your lack of control can cause serious health complications.

Incidence of diabetes in Spain

The latest available data on diabetes in Spain were presented at the XXIX National Congress of the Spanish Society of Diabetes. These show that almost 400,000 Spaniards develop type 2 diabetes every year, with a prevalence of 11.58 cases per 1000 inhabitants.

In the Spanish state more than 5 million people know they suffer from the disease, but also there are approximately 2.3 million who do not know. In addition, about 4 million people would be in a prediabetic state.

The diet is directly involved in the etiology of diabetes. Excess calories, high consumption of saturated fats, hydrogenated fats, simple carbohydrates and lack of physical exercise, have been proposed as possible triggers of the disease.

Thus, Lifestyle and food modification They are the basis to prevent the onset of this disease.

Read more: How to prevent high blood sugar spikes

Legumes and diabetes

«Legume consumption is associated with a lower risk of suffering from type 2 diabetes ″. Specifically, the consumption of 30 grams of legumes per day would reduce this risk by 35%. This would be the same as eating about 3 servings a week or so.

These results are derived from the PREDIMED (Mediterranean Diet Prevention) study that followed 3,349 people with cardiovascular risk for more than 4 years. A protective relationship was shown between the consumption of legumes, especially lentils, and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

In addition, the study also showed positive results with the replacement of half a serving of pasta, rice and boiled potatoes for half a serving of legumes a day.

Similarly, beyond increasing the intake of legumes, The Mediterranean diet has also been shown to be highly effective in preventing type 2 diabetes. Therefore we recommend following a diet rich in foods such as:

  • Fresh vegetables and fruits
  • Olive oil
  • Vegetables
  • Blue Fish
  • Nuts
  • Whole grains
  • White meat

Legumes, especially lentils, have proven beneficial in the prevention and control of diabetes.

The nutritional richness of legumes

Legumes are a very nutritionally rich food. Not in vain, 2016 was declared on international year of legumes by United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The objective was to raise public awareness of its health benefits and thus boost its consumption among the world's population.

Legumes are a food rich in vegetable proteins, fiber, minerals (iron, magnesium and potassium) and vitamins (especially group B). In addition, they are a food with a low glycemic index.

Half the weight of legumes is represented by carbohydrates. These are slowly absorbed, which means that glucose is gradually assimilated. Blood sugar spikes are avoided and hyperglycemia occurs.

This is the characteristic that makes them an ideal food to prevent type 2 diabetes. And not only this, but They also help control the disease once it has been diagnosed.

Read more 6 benefits of adding legumes in your diet

What are the most suitable legumes against diabetes?

In the PREDIMED study the best results were obtained with the consumption of lentils.

“Individuals with a higher intake of lentils during follow-up (approximately 1 serving per week), compared to individuals who consumed them in less quantity (less than half a serving per week), had a 33% lower risk of suffering the illness".

But nevertheless, other types of legumes are suitable for this purpose, as for example: white beans, beans, chickpeas or peas.

Red lentils are a variety of lentils that have no skin. They need much less cooking time and have a tendency to fall apart a bit. For this, They are ideal for those who suffer from gas or poor digestion when eating legumes. They are also ideal for introducing legumes into the diets of young children. We can cook mashed red lentils with pumpkin, leek or carrots.

It is important to cook legumes in a healthy way. In winter, pots or sauteed vegetables with vegetables, olive oil and some white meat are more suitable if we want. And in summer we can prepare varied salads of chickpeas or lentils, without forgetting the delicious and refreshing humus. Enjoy them!

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