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Sardines (Oily Fish) Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Sardines (Oily Fish) Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

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  • Type 2 diabetes may be averted by regularly eating sardines
  • The nutrients found in the fish – taurine, omega 3, calcium, and vitamin D aid in the protection against the disease
  • Among 37% of the elderly population at a high risk of suffering from diabetes, only 8% remained at very high risk after consuming sardines

High levels of unsaturated fats found in sardines and oily fish are widely known to render wonders of health benefits. They are known to regulate cholesterol levels and prevent the onset of cardiovascular diseases and help prevent type 2 diabetes.

The regular consumption of sardines helps prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes as per a study at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya's (UOC) Faculty of Health Sciences and the August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBAPS), published in the prestigious Clinical Nutrition journal. Type 2 diabetes affects around 14% of the Spanish population over the age of 18 as per CIBERDEM's Di@betes study.


Sardines (Oily Fish) Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

"Not only are sardines reasonably priced and easy to find, but they are safe and help to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. This is a huge scientific discovery. It is easy to recommend this food during medical check-ups, and it is widely accepted by the population", says Diana Diaz Rizzolo, lecturer, and researcher of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya's (UOC) Faculty of Health Sciences

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Diabetes is a metabolic disease that is characterized by high blood glucose (blood sugar). Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body doesn't sufficiently produce/utilize a hormone made by the pancreas called insulin (which allows glucose from food to get into your body cells for energy).

High Nutrient Value of Sardines

Sardines are small fish packed with high oil content. The nutrients found in sardines - such as taurine, omega 3, calcium, and vitamin D, help in protecting against this disease.

In addition to controlling blood sugar levels, the other surprising benefits of sardines include:
  • Good for heart
  • Prevent certain types of cancer
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Protect bone health
  • Combat anxiety and stress
  • Lower the risk of blood clots
  • Promote healthy immune system
  • Great for your skin

Risk of Diabetes in Elderly

As the incidence of diabetes is much higher in elderly people than in the young population, Almost 152 patients aged 65 years and older who had been diagnosed with prediabetes (blood glucose levels between 100-124 mg/dl) were enrolled for the study from three different Primary Care centers.

"As we get older, restrictive diets (in terms of calories or food groups) can help to prevent the onset of diabetes. However, the cost-benefit ratio is not always positive, as we found in other studies. However, the results lead us to believe that we could obtain an equally significant preventive effect in the younger population," says doctor Rizzolo.

Halt Diabetes with Two Cans of Sardines a Week

A nutritional program that sought to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes was added to all the patients. However, the intervention group was additionally added with 200 grams of sardines to their diet every week (two cans of sardines in olive oil). These participants were encouraged to consume the sardine whole without removing the bones, as these are enriched in calcium and vitamin D.

It was found that 27% of the members were at a high risk of suffering from diabetes (measured via the FINDRISC questionnaire) among the group that did not include sardines in their diet. And 22% found themselves in the same category even after 1 year.

On the contrary, among the participants that included sardines in their diet, 37% of them were at a high risk of suffering from diabetes at the start of the study. But only 8% remained at very high risk after one year.

There were also certain improvements seen in other important biochemical parameters, such as a reduced insulin resistance index (HOMA-IR), increased "good" cholesterol (HDL), increased hormones that accelerate the breakdown of glucose (adiponectin) and decreased triglycerides and blood pressure, amongst others.

Food Vs Supplements - The Protective Role

The present data demonstrate the clear protective effect of the fish nutrients (taurine, omega 3, calcium, and vitamin D) against the onset of diabetes. However, it is controversial to conclude the role of these nutrients having similar efficacy when taken as supplements in isolation.

"Nutrients can play an essential role in the prevention and treatment of many different pathologies, but their effect is usually caused by the synergy that exists between them and the food that they are contained in. Sardines will therefore have a protective element because they are rich in the aforementioned nutrients, whereas nutrients taken in isolation in the form of supplements won't work to the same extent", says Rizzolo.

The effect of sardines on the intestinal microbiota is also set in the second phase of the study to further analyze the regulation of many biological processes and their protective effect against diabetes 2.

Managing Type 2 Diabetes

The following tips may help sustain the blood sugar to normal and also delay/prevent complications.
  1. Eating sardines regularly helps prevent type 2 diabetes - ( https://www.uoc.edu/portal/en/news/actualitat/2021/115-health-nutrition-diabetes-sardines.html)
  2. What is Diabetes? - (https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/what-is-diabetes)
  3. 20 Surprising Health Benefits Of Sardines - (https://www.lifehack.org/291464/20-surprising-health-benefits-sardines

Source: Medindia

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