Researchers have found that eating just one serving of green leafy vegetables or three servings of fruit a day reduces the risk of developing Type II diabetes.
They also found that one serving of fruit juice a day increased the risk of Type II diabetes in women.
"Based on the results of our study, people who have risk factors for diabetes may find it helpful to fill up on leafy greens like lettuces, kale and spinach and whole fruits, like apples, bananas, oranges and watermelon rather than drink fruit juices, which deliver a big sugar load in a liquid form that gets absorbed rapidly," Tulane epidemiologist Dr. Lydia Bazzano said.
For the study, Bazzano and her team analyzed 18 years worth of diet and health data from 71,346 nurses who participated in the Nurses' Health Study from 1984 to 2002.
Apart from emphasizing the importance of eating whole fruits and green leafy vegetables to prevent diabetes, the researchers also recommend replacing refined grains and white potatoes with whole fruit or green leafy vegetable servings. White flours and potatoes have been associated with an increased risk of diabetes.
The study was published in the April 4, 2008 online issue of Diabetes Care.