Studies show that eating quinoa every day can help prevent type 2 diabetes.
Spanish experts tested the effects of the “superfood” by involving nine people with diabetes over the age of 65.
Pre-diabetes occurs when blood sugar levels are higher than normal but are not officially diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.
Three meals a day were delivered to the volunteers, who swapped vegetables for potatoes, rice or quinoa.
Meanwhile, they were served quinoa meals, including pasta, cakes, bread and crackers.
Blood sugar monitoring showed that after they ate during the special diet, their lower tumors froze.
A study from the Open University of Catalonia in Barcelona claims that quinoa can help prevent type 2 diabetes.
Those who ate the nutrient-dense cereal showed a drop in blood glucose after a meal. Graph shows: Postprandial blood sugar levels in people who ate a normal diet (black line) and a quinoa-rich diet (red)
WHAT IS TYPE 2 DIABETES?
Type 2 diabetes is a disease that causes a person’s blood sugar to be too high.
More than 4 million people in the UK have some form of diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is associated with being overweight, and if it runs in the family, you may be more likely to get it.
This condition means that the body cannot properly regulate blood sugar levels without responding properly to insulin, the hormone that controls the absorption of sugar in the blood.
Excess fat in the liver increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes because it makes it harder to control glucose levels and makes the body more insulin resistant.
Losing weight is key to reducing fatty liver and controlling symptoms.
Symptoms include fatigue, thirst, and frequent urination.
It can cause serious problems with nerves, vision and heart.
Treatment usually involves diet and lifestyle changes, but more serious cases may require medication.
Source: NHS Choices; diabetes.co.uk
Researchers say this could be “crucial” for preventing type 2 diabetes.
Compared to bread, rice or potatoes, the micronutrient content of quinoa slows down the digestion process and causes a slower rise in glucose.
Type 2 diabetes affects approximately 2 million people in the UK and 37 million in the US.
70 percent of pre-diabetics develop a full-blown condition, which can be fatal if left untreated.
Doctors currently recommend that affected people change their diet and exercise more to lose weight to prevent type 2 from developing.
A study published in the journal Nutrients tracked the diets of nine prediabetics for eight weeks to see how adding quinoa, rich in folate, magnesium, zinc and iron, affected their condition.
During the first four weeks, they were asked to maintain a regular diet with weight, BMI and residual measurements.
They are equipped with the Freestyle Libre system, which monitors blood glucose levels throughout the day.
On day 28, the researchers took blood samples to see how blood sugar levels rose after the eight-hour fast.
For the next four weeks, the study was repeated, but the volunteers switched to a quinoa-heavy diet.
The study did not specify how much quinoa each person should consume over four weeks.
Dr Díaz Rizzolo, from the Open University of Catalonia in Barcelona, said: ‘We compared blood sugar patterns and found that when participants ate quinoa, their blood sugar rise was lower than when they ate a normal diet.
“This is important because postprandial blood sugar spikes are a key factor in the development of type 2 diabetes.”
The polyphenols in quinoa are thought to reduce blood sugar spikes caused by eating it.
A trace element found in most vegetables, fruits and teas slows the absorption of carbohydrates.
It also reduces the absorption of glucose in the intestine and stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin – reversing the effects of type 2 diabetes.
When people eat carbohydrates, the food is broken down into blood sugar. This means the pancreas releases insulin, which allows glucose to enter the body’s cells.
But over time, high blood sugar levels can lead to insulin resistance.
Because insulin is less effective at breaking down sugar, it causes the body to produce more of it.
Eventually, this causes the pancreas to wear out, causing the system to fail and blood sugar levels to remain high.