Eating Legumes Can Help Lower Diabetes Risk

March 28,2017

Type 2 diabetes is a condition that affects over 29 million Americans and more than 400 million people worldwide. A recent PREDIMED study monitored 3,349 participants who did not have type 2 diabetes at the onset of the research. For 4.3 years their diets and habits were monitored to determine the effects legumes may have in preventing type 2 diabetes.

As a low glycemic index food, legumes are a great part of any diabetic's diet. This food group is also high in B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Plants such as peanuts, chickpeas, lentils, soybeans, alfalfa, and clover are all members of this group. With earlier research suggesting that legumes may contain phytochemicals, bioactive molecules, which can improve overall metabolism, researchers needed a large sample set of people to monitor and measure the effects.

Researchers analyzed the correlation between the average consumption of legumes and the onset of type 2 diabetes. During the study, 266 of the participants developed the disease for the first time. Using Cox regression models, researchers were able to determine that participants eating a higher quantity of legumes were 35% less likely to develop the type 2 diabetes. Interestingly enough lentils came out on top with the highest association of lowering diabetes risk.

Though not 100% definitive, the study is catching the eye of the medical community. If diabetes runs in your family, making a few dietary changes now may significantly reduce your risk in the future. Legumes are incredibly easy and inexpensive to get into your diet. If you enjoy a starchy side with your meals, try swapping your rice or potato-based dish with a bean or lentil-based one. This simple change may make a significant difference on your health in the future.