12 DIABETES-FIGHTING FOODS

Apples

A study published in April in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds that higher consumption of anthocyanin-rich fruits like apples, pears, and blueberries is linked with a 23 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Eat at least five servings a week to reap maximum benefits.

Cheese and Yogurt

People who consumed the most fermented dairy products—things like yogurt, cheese, and fermented milk such as kefir—had a 12 percent reduced risk of diabetes compared to people who ate the least fermented dairy, according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers believe the healthy bacteria found in fermented foods may be partly to thank.

Cinnamon

Eating cinnamon can lower fasting blood glucose, according to a 2011 review by scientists at UC-Davis. That’s on top of its other benefits: the spice has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and improve insulin sensitivity. Stir a spoonful into your morning coffee, sprinkle some on toast, or add it to your oatmeal.

Coffee

Your morning cup o’ joe does more than just perk you up: A new report in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry finds that the beverage contains compounds that inhibit a hormone that plays a role in diabetes. Past studies have found that those who sip four or more cups of coffee daily have a 50 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Dark Chocolate

According to a review in the British Medical Journal, those who regularly treated themselves to chocolate had a 31 percent reduced risk of diabetes—not to mention a 37 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and a 29 percent reduction in stroke risk—compared with infrequent chocolate eaters. The studies looked at all kinds of chocolate, but for health-boosting effects, the dark stuff’s your best bet. Past research has found dark chocolate can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce both blood pressure and insulin resistance. To get a health boost without the calorie bomb, look for a higher percentage of cacao—the darker the chocolate, the less sugar it contains.

Spinach and Kale

You already know that green leafy vegetables are nutritional powerhouses, but did you know they may slash your diabetes risk? According to a 2010 review in the British Medical Journal found that an increase of only 1.15 servings daily can decrease your risk for diabetes by 14 percent. Swap spinach for lettuce in salads and sandwiches, roast up some kale chips, or add a serving to a smoothie to cram in an extra daily dose of greens.

Nuts

People who reported eating at least a quarter-ounce of nuts per day had a 5 percent lower prevalence of metabolic syndrome, a combination of risk factors that can lead to type 2 diabetes, found a 2011 study from Louisiana State University. Opt for an ounce a day—about a handful.

Red Wine

You already knew red wine was a surefire health booster, but it may be a powerful diabetes fighter as well. A Polish review of current research finds that resveratrol, the seemingly superpowered compound found in grape skins, can help improve the function of the blood sugar–regulating hormone insulin and reduce blood glucose levels. Most of the resveratrol data are from animal studies, so further research is needed to find out how the compound functions in humans. But researchers agree that moderate consumption of red wine—that’s no more than two glasses daily for men—is good for you. Cheers to that!

Strawberries

British scientists recently found that an extract from the strawberry helps your body activate a protein that decreases blood lipids and LDL cholesterol—both of which can factor into the development of type 2 diabetes. And a preliminary study published in the British Journal of Nutrition earlier this year finds strawberries can help lower blood glucose levels in mice.

Tumeric

Good news for curry lovers: Curcumin, a compound found in turmeric, may help delay or prevent the progression of diabetes, finds a new study in the journal Diabetes Care. Researchers looked at 240 people with high blood sugar, but not high enough to warrant a diagnosis of diabetes. Half the group received a 1,500-milligram (mg) pill of curcumin extract daily, while the rest received a placebo. After 9 months, 16.4 percent of the placebo group developed diabetes. And the curcumin group? Not one. More research is needed to determine the long-term effects of curcumin, but these early results are promising. In the meantime, add a hit of turmeric to your sautéed vegetables

Water

No, it’s not a food, but it’s vital to your health. French scientists looked at over 3,000 participants over a period of 9 years and found that those who drank the most water—more than 33 ounces each day—were 21 percent less likely to have high blood sugar than less-frequent sippers. Researchers believe increased levels of vasopressin, the hormone that regulates water levels in your body, may lead to an increase in blood sugar. How? When you don’t drink enough water, your vasopressin levels go up, and past research has found higher vasopressin levels mean higher blood sugar.

Wheat Bran

A 2011 review article in Diabetes Care supports past evidence that high intake of magnesium can lower your chances of developing type 2 diabetes, particularly if you’re overweight. The mineral is found in a variety of vegetables and whole grains, but wheat bran is one of the best sources—only ¼ cup will give you 22 percent of your daily magnesium requirements.

Credit; WebMd

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MOSAICS

15 Immune Boosting Foods

Acai Berry
Hawked as a “super food” along with produce like blueberries, the little acai berry’s dark color signals that it is high in antioxidants called anthocyanins. While the acai is not scientifically linked to specific disease- or illness-fighting ability, antioxidants may help your body fight aging and disease. Acai berries can be found most often in juice or smoothie form, or dried and mixed with granola.

Almonds
A handful of almonds may shore up your immune system from the effects of stress. A recommended 1/4 cup serving carries nearly 50% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin E, which helps boost the immune system. And they have riboflavin and niacin, B vitamins that may help you bounce back from the effects of stress.

Broccoli
Easy to find at the grocery store and incorporate into meals, broccoli is an immune-boosting basic. One study reported a chemical in broccoli helped stimulate the immune systems of mice. Plus, it’s full of nutrients that protect your body from damage. It has vitamins A, vitamin C, and glutathione. Add some low-fat cheese to round out a side dish with immune-enhancing B vitamins and vitamin D.

Garlic
Garlic offers several antioxidants that battle immune system invaders. Among garlic’s targets are H. pylori, the bacteria associated with some ulcers and stomach cancer. Cooking tip: Peel, chop and let sit 15 to 20 minutes before cooking to activate immune-boosting enzymes.

Grapefruit
Grapefruits have a good amount of vitamin C. But science has yet to prove that you can easily get enough vitamin C through foods alone, without supplementation, to help treat cold and flu. However, grapefruit is packed with flavonoids — natural chemical compounds that have been found to increase immune system activation. Dislike grapefruits? Try oranges or tangerines.

Spinach
Known as a “super food,” spinach is nutrient-rich. It has folate, which helps your body produce new cells and repair DNA. And it boasts fiber, antioxidants, such as vitamin C, and more. Eat spinach raw or lightly cooked to get the most benefit.

Sweet Potato
Like carrots, sweet potatoes have the antioxidant beta-carotene, which mops up damaging free radicals. Sweet potatoes also boast vitamin A, which is linked to slowing the aging process and may reduce the risk of some cancers.

Tea
Green or black? Both are loaded with disease-fighting polyphenols and flavonoids. These antioxidants seek out cell-damaging free radicals and destroy them. Caffeinated and decaf work equally well.

Wheat Germ
Wheat germ is the part of a wheat seed that feeds a baby wheat plant, so it is full of nutrients. It has zinc, antioxidants, and B vitamins among other vital vitamins and minerals. Wheat germ also offers a good mix of fiber, protein, and some good fat. Substitute wheat germ for part of the regular flour called for in baked goods and other recipes.

Low-Fat Yogurt
A daily cup may reduce your chances of getting a cold. Look for labels listing “live and active cultures.” Some researchers believe they may stimulate your immune system to fight disease. Also look for vitamin D. Recent studies have found a link between low vitamin D levels and an increased risk of cold and flu.

Elderberry
An old folk remedy, extract from these dark berries appears to block flu viruses in test tube studies. But scientists caution that further study is needed. The fruit itself is rich in antioxidants and may also have the ability to fight inflammation.

Watermelon
Hydrating and refreshing, ripe watermelon also has plenty of a powerful antioxidant, glutathione. Known to help strengthen the immune system so it can fight infection, glutathione is found in the red pulpy flesh near the rind.

Button Mushrooms
Don’t dismiss the lowly mushroom as nutrient poor: It has the mineral selenium and antioxidants. Low levels of selenium have been linked to increased risk of developing more severe flu. And the B vitamins riboflavin and niacin, found in these mushrooms, play a role in a healthy immune system. Animal studies have also shown mushrooms to have antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-tumor effects.

This is a source of immune-strengthening glutamine. And cabbage is easy and inexpensive to find during the winter months when it's in season. Try adding cabbages of any variety (white, red, Chinese) to soups and stews to sneak in extra antioxidants and boost your meal's nutritional value.

Cabbage
This is a source of immune-strengthening glutamine. And cabbage is easy and inexpensive to find during the winter months when it’s in season. Try adding cabbages of any variety (white, red, Chinese) to soups and stews to sneak in extra antioxidants and boost your meal’s nutritional value.

Oyster

Oysters
Aphrodisiac? Immune boosters? Maybe both, thanks to the mineral zinc that’s found in oysters. Low zinc levels have been associated with male infertility. And zinc appears to have some antiviral effect, although researchers can’t explain why. However, they do know it is important to several immune system tasks including healing wounds.

CREDIT: WEBMd

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