Vegetables and Soybeans Reduce Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Posted on June 4, 2008. Filed under: Foods that Prevent Disease, Type 2 Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes Prevention | Tags: , , , |

This article is taken from Worlds Healthiest Foods at

A prospective study of 64,191 women ranging in age from 40 to 70 years, who were followed for 4.6 years, found those eating the most vegetables—an average of 428 grams (a little less than 13 ounces) per day—had a 28% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, compared to those eating the least (121.5 grams or about 3.5 ounces per day). Fruit consumption, however, did not lower risk of type 2 diabetes in any statistically significant way. . Cruciferous vegetables, green leafy vegetables, yellow vegetables, allium vegetables (onions and garlic), tomatoes, and other vegetables, all showed protective effect. (Villegas R, Shu XO, et al.,J Nutr)

And we are not talking about eating tons of vegetables here. To put this in perspective, a cup of steamed broccoli weighs about 156 grams; a cup of tomatoes weighs about 180 grams; a cup of cooked spinach weighs approximately 180 grams.

“The mechanism by which vegetables affect glucose tolerance has not been clearly defined but may be associated with the high content of antioxidants, fiber, and magnesium or the low glycemic index in vegetables,” suggest the authors.

Legumes, especially Soybeans
In another prospective study, 64,227 middle-aged women were followed 4.6 years. Those eating the most legumes had a 38% lower risk of type 2 diabetes than those who ate the fewest amount of legumes; and those eating the most soybeans, specifically, had a 47% lower risk of the disease than those who ate the fewest amount of soybeans.

 Legumes’ protective effect is likely due to a number of factors. Legumes are high in fiber, low in glycemic index, and rich in phytonutrients, such as isoflavones and lignans, which can act as antioxidants.


 Animal studies suggest that under certain circumstances, some of the components in soybeans may inhibit insulin secretion, improve insulin sensitivity, and increase the breakdown of fats in the liver and in fat cells (adipocytes).

Practical Tip: Reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by enjoying at least 2 servings of vegetables at each meal. Let legumes, including soybeans, become a staple part of your healthy way of eating. Villegas R, Shu XO, Gao YT, et al. Vegetable but not fruit consumption reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes in Chinese women. J Nutr. 2008 Mar;138(3):574-80.

Villegas R, Gao YT, Yang G, et al. Legume and soy food intake and the incidence of type 2 diabetes in the Shanghai Women’s Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Jan;87(1):162-7.

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