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Because Pumpkin Compounds Could Counter Diabetes Effects

It’s National Pumpkin Month, and recent research suggests one more reason to celebrate the great orange gourd: Possible anti-diabetic benefits. Diabetes will affect half a billion people worldwide by 2050 — a growing number due to the rise in global obesity. The list of diabetes associated ailments includes heart disease, stroke, dementia, blindness and cancer. No wonder scientists are hot to discover how diet might help lower diabetes risk and impact. That’s why the discovery of pumpkin’s potential is so exciting.

A study from Japan’s Iwate University looked at how pumpkin compounds affected rats fed a high-starch, high-sugar diet for six weeks. Compared to a control group, those with pumpkin extracts mixed into their feed had dramatically lower blood and liver markers for diabetes: specifically, 17% lower blood glucose, 65% lower triglyceride levels, and 30% less abdominal fat. Why might this be? The researchers speculate that pumpkin compounds affect liver enzymes regulating glucose and fat metabolism.

While we await scientific confirmation of similar pumpkin benefits among humans, there’s little doubt of the dietary boost you’ll get from the 240% of vitamin A provided by one cup canned pumpkin, including support for healthy vision. Moreover, increasing total fruit and veggie intake — especially leafy greens and root vegetables — was associated in a 7% decline in diabetes incidence among nearly 15,000 middle-aged men and women over an eleven year period, according to a just published study from Cambridge University. Want more on the latest research linked to lower diabetes risk? Check out the links below:

Published October 1, 2012

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