Kind 2 diabetes might be prevented by consuming sardines

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Canned sardines are affordable, easy to source, and rich in nutrients. (Stock, Getty Images)

Eating two cans of sardines a week can reduce a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The oily fish is known to contain good fats that promote heart health. The benefits may not stop there, however.

Scientists from the Open University of Catalonia in Barcelona analyzed 152 people aged 65 and over with prediabetes, when a person’s blood sugar level is consistently high but not high enough to be defined as diabetes.

All participants received the same diabetes prevention nutrition plan, but half also added 200g – about two cans – of sardines in olive oil to their weekly diet.

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A year later, the sardine-eating participants were significantly less likely to still have a high risk of type 2 diabetes.

The affordable pantry staple is high in a number of nutrients – including omega-3s, calcium, and vitamin D – that can fight the disease off.

Young man hand measuring diabetic on table.

People with diabetes need to check their blood sugar levels regularly. (Stock, Getty Images)

“Sardines are not only inexpensive and easy to find, they are also safe and help prevent the occurrence of type 2 diabetes,” said study author Dr. Diana Rizzolo.

“This is a great scientific discovery. It is easy to recommend this food to medical research and it is widely accepted by the population.”

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In the UK alone 3.9 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes, around 90% of whom have type 2.

The incidence of type 2 diabetes is often related to a patient’s lifestyle, e.g. B. overweight or sedentary exercise.

If left untreated, the condition can lead to heart disease, blindness, and even amputation of the limbs.

The 152 participants had a fasting glucose level of 100 mg / dl to 124 mg / dl. This is measured after a person has not eaten or drunk anything other than water for eight hours. Prediabetes is defined as 100 mg / dL to 125 mg / dL.

Participants were given a diet known to reduce a susceptible person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 75 people should also eat sardines.

The story goes on

The fish was generally eaten whole, including its soft bones, to maximize the absorption of calcium and vitamin D.

At the beginning of the study, 27% of the 77 participants in the non-sardine group were found to have a particularly high risk of developing type 2 diabetes using the Finnish evaluation calculator FINDRISC.

A year later, this was down to 22%, as published in the journal Clinical Nutrition.

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In the sardine group, 37% had a high risk of type 2 diabetes at the start of the study; after 12 months of regular consumption of the fatty fish it was only 8%.

Sardine consumption was also linked to higher levels of “good” cholesterol and the hormone adiponectin, which “appears to play a crucial role in protecting against diabetes”.

It was also linked to lower blood pressure and a decreased amount of circulating fat in the participants’ blood.

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The Catalan scientists specifically analyzed people over 65 due to the risk of type 2 diabetes in old age.

“As we get older, restrictive diets (in terms of calories or food groups) can help prevent the onset of diabetes. However, the cost-benefit ratio is not always positive as we have found in other studies,” said Dr . Rizzolo.

“The results suggest that we can achieve an equally significant preventive effect in the younger population.”

While sardines are high in a number of nutrients, scientists have emphasized that as a dietary supplement, these may not have the same benefits.

“Nutrients can play an essential role in the prevention and treatment of many different pathologies, but their effects are usually caused by the synergy between them and the foods in which they are contained,” said Dr. Rizzolo.

“Sardines therefore have a protective element because they are rich in the above nutrients, while nutrients taken in isolation in the form of dietary supplements do not work to the same extent.”

The scientists are now investigating whether sardines affect a person’s intestinal bacteria, which “affects the regulation of many biological processes and we need to understand whether they were involved in this protective effect against diabetes 2”.

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