Monday, April 22, 2013

Can Beans Benefit Type-2 Diabetics?

Type-2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. It occurs when body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin that is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy.

If not managed appropriately, Type-2 diabetes could lead to many other complications including heart disease, stroke, and blindness. Fortunately, most of the Type-2 diabetic patients can control their conditions with medications, regular exercises and healthy diet.

According to a Canadian study, eating a cup of beans or lentils daily might help control blood sugar and possibly cut the risk of getting heart attack and stroke for Type-2 diabetics.

The findings, which were published on November 26, 2012 in the ‘Archives of Internal Medicine’, showed that people getting a daily dose of legumes had small drops in their blood sugar as well as in blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Legumes, including beans, chickpeas, and lentils, are believed to be good source for proteins that tend to dampen the blood glucose response and lower blood pressure.

Researchers from St Michael's Hospital in Toronto and their associates found that the estimated 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease for the 121 study participants had fallen from 10.7 to 9.6 percent after 3 months on bean diet.

In the study, participants were divided into 2 groups: one was asked to increase their intake of cooked legumes by at least a cup a day while the other one was instructed to eat more whole wheat products to raise their fiber intake.

3 months later, the hemoglobin A1c levels were found to drop from 7.4 to 6.9 percent for people eating beans, compared with people eating extra whole wheat, the hemoglobin A1c levels had fallen from 7.2 to 6.9 percent.

The A1C test is a common blood test used to gauge how well diabetics managing their diabetes. It reflects the average blood sugar level for the past 2 to 3 months. It is determined by measuring the percentage of glycated hemoglobin or HbA1c in the blood.

When it comes to blood pressure, it was found that no reduction for participants with extra whole wheat. But for participants assigned to legumes group, the systolic blood pressure reading was reduced from 122 to 118 points, and the diastolic blood pressure reading dropped from 72 to 69. Blood pressures readings of no more that 120 over 80 are considered normal.

Based on lower blood pressure, the researchers calculated that diabetics getting a daily dose of beans would cut their 10-year risk of heart attack or stroke by less than 1 percent comparing to people who ate whole wheat.

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