Proof That The Diabetes/Vegetable Nutrition Intake Link Does Exist:
- A diet rich in dietary fiber has been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Natural fiber is found only in plant foods such as grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
- One study found that the more red and processed meats you eat, the higher your risk of diabetes -- it's as much as a 40% increased risk for each additional daily serving.
- A 2006 study found that people with type 2 diabetes can significantly control the disease -- and lose weight -- by switching to a pure vegetarian diet.
- Two more recent studies specifically link intake of green leafy vegetables to reduced diabetes risks. Specifically, one and a half servings per day were found to reduce type 2 diabetes risks by 14%. Green leafy vegetables are high in antioxidants, magnesium, and omega three fatty acids, all of which may contribute to reducing the risks of diabetes.
Easy Ways to Eat More Vegetables:
- Eat at least one salad entree or salad appetizer a day. One cup of leafy greens is a serving of vegetables.
- Buy precut veggies, or slice raw vegetables in batches to use for a few days. You'll be more likely to eat them if you can grab ready-to-eat veggies when you need them.
- Sautée a batch of vegetables such as onions, mushrooms, peppers, spinach or zucchini. Store them in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Use them in an omelet, meat loaf, burrito, sandwich wrap, rice pilaf, tomato sauce, or to top a pizza or grilled chicken sandwich.
- Have a vegetarian dinner at least once a week, such as black beans with bell peppers, onions and served with brown rice; 2 cups of leafy greens topped with grilled vegetables and low-fat cheese; or veggie burgers topped with sautéed vegetables of choice and served on a whole-wheat bun.
- Get creative. If you like the taste of a vegetable, try to think of new ways to use it. For example, if you like baby spinach, red peppers and cucumbers, try topping a sandwich with them, dicing them up for a pasta salad, or tossing them into rice for a colorful and tasty rice pilaf.
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Carter P, Gray LJ, Troughton J, Khunti K, Davies MJ. "Fruit and vegetable intake and incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus: systematic review and meta-analysis."
Fung TT, et al. "Dietary Patterns, Meat Intake, and the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Women." Arch Intern Med.</i> 2004;164:2235-2240.
Frassetto LA, et al. "Metabolic and physiologic improvements from consuming a Paleolithic, hunter-gatherer type diet." European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2009.