Because of the natural sugars in fruit, one might think that it should be avoided in order to prevent diabetes. On the contrary, a recent study recently published in the British Medical Journal has found that greater consumption of specific whole fruits, particularly blueberries, grapes, and apples, is significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes (adult-onset diabetes), whereas greater consumption of fruit juice is associated with a higher risk.
Fruits are very rich in antioxidants, which are substances that protect our tissues from the reactions of oxygen inside the body. Natural processes such as digestion and metabolism create accumulated oxygen reactions that contribute to the aging and disease process. Fruits are good at neutralizing these particles and are also a valuable source of fiber and plant coloring and pigments that have beneficial health effects.
The study on fruit’s effect on diabetes prevention was centered at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. Participants totaled 187,000 people and were women from the Nurses’ Health Study (1984-2008), women from the Nurses’ Health Study II (1991-2009), and men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986-2008). They were all free of major diseases at the starting point. Questionnaires were used to collect detailed data.
While blueberries, grapes, and apples provided the most benefits for diabetes prevention, blueberries provided the greatest advantage when three servings per week were eaten — a 26% reduction in the odds to develop diabetes. Servings of cantaloupe on the other hand, increased the risk by 10%, and three servings of fruit juice increased the risk by 8%. Peaches, plums, apricots, prunes, oranges, and strawberries had a neutral risk for diabetes.
So let’s get that fruit out for dessert and eat it for refreshing, nourishing snacks.
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