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November 24, 2010 at 1:00 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Leafy Greens for Lower Type II Diabetes Risk

By Helen More Blogs by This Author

Type II diabetes is on the rise. According to scientific studies, the number one reason type II diabetes is on the rise correlates completely with an unhealthy diet. So, could the cure to type II diabetes be as easy as eating better? According to the British Medical Journal (BMJ), as simple as that sounds, it actually may be true when it comes to reversing type II diabetes without the use of drugs. According to recent report by BMJ, the good foods that are showing such great promise happen to be green leafy vegetables. Interestingly, when tests subjects increased the consumption of regular vegetables, fruits, or fruits and vegetables together the results were not as good as with just leafy greens. This surprise finding leads one to wonder what nutrients leafy green vegetables may have that the other vegetables and fruits might be lacking.

Vitamin K and Manganese

Dark green leafy greens are filled with good antioxidants, flavinoids, nutrients, and vitamins, including manganese and vitamin K. And since both manganese and vitamin K are nutrients that are often ignored by physicians the world over, this is the perfect starting point. Manganese is an essential trace mineral noted for the formation of healthy red blood cells and pituitary gland function, and is considered to be brain and nerve food. Not surprisingly, manganese helps maintain normal range of blood glucose levels, and is important in the proper absorption of vitamins C, B, and E. Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it is stored in the fat and used as needed. While vitamin K is found in a variety of foods and is also produced by bacteria found in the gastrointestinal tract lining, we often do eat enough of the correct foods to keep vitamin K at optimum levels. Dark leafy greens have both high vitamin K and manganese content. Since manganese has been shown to regulate blood sugar levels, among other things, it's a mineral not to be ignored. Manganese can be found in arugula, broccoli, endive, dandelion greens, kale, mustard greens, and Swiss chard.

Benefits of Kale

Kale is high in protein and low in fat. On the nutritional scale kale is one of the top producers, offering a whopping portion of manganese and vitamin K, which makes it a superfood that should be found in every salad or at least on every dinner table once in a while. When eaten steamed, its fibers are able to easily bind with bile acids in the digestive tract, which enables the body to dump the bile acids more efficiently, and thereby lower cholesterol at the same time. Kale is filled with a good portion of cancer fighting sulforaphane compounds such asisothiocyanates (ITCs), which are made from glucosinolates and are essential in helping to lower the risk of five different cancers. One cup of kale provides approximately 17 percent of the daily value of manganese. At this point in time, scientists aren't sure if it's vitamin K or manganese or something else entirely that is helping regulate blood glucose and assisting in the reversal of type II diabetes. But it is green leafy vegetables that are getting the pat on the back for now, and we already know that green leafy vegetables, calorie for calorie, are the most nutritionally sound foods. So what are we waiting for? Let's all have a green salad for lunch!

Sources:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100819214607.htm

http://www.drgourmet.com/warfarin/vegetables.shtml

http://www.diabetic-diet-secrets.com/content/view/92/115/

http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/minerals/health-benefits-of-manganese.html

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