The health benefits of sardines and oily fish are widely known: their high levels of unsaturated fats help to regulate cholesterol levels and prevent heart diseases.
In a new study from the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, researchers found that the regular consumption of sardines helps to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Nutrients found in high quantities in sardines—such as taurine, omega 3, calcium and vitamin D—help to protect against this disease.
In the study, the team enrolled 152 patients aged 65 years and older who had been diagnosed with prediabetes (blood glucose levels between 100-124 mg/dl).
All of these patients were put on a nutritional program that sought to reduce the risk of them developing the disease, but only the intervention group added 200 grams of sardines to their diet every week (two cans of sardines in olive oil).
To facilitate this consumption, these study participants received a list of recipes including canned sardines.
Participants were advised to eat the sardine whole, without removing the bones, as these are particularly rich in calcium and vitamin D.
Of the group that did not include sardines in their diet, 27% of the members were at a high risk of suffering from diabetes. After one year, 22% found themselves in the same category.
Of the group that included sardines in their diet, 37% of the members were at a high risk of suffering from diabetes at the start of the study. After one year, only 8% remained at very high risk.
Improvements were also seen in other important biochemical parameters, such as a reduced insulin resistance index, increased “good” cholesterol (HDL), increased hormones that accelerate the breakdown of glucose (adiponectin) and decreased triglycerides and blood pressure, amongst others.
The team says the fact that foods such as sardines—which are rich in taurine, omega 3, calcium and vitamin D—have a clear protective effect against the onset of diabetes does not mean that taking these supplements in isolation will have the same effect.
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.
If you care about type 2 diabetes, please read studies about older men with this health condition are more likely to develop diabetes and findings of a better way to control blood sugar in diabetes.
For more information about diabetes treatment and prevention, please see recent studies about this tree seed may help treat diabetes, obesity and results showing how to lower side effects of once-popular diabetes drug.
The study is published in Clinical Nutrition. One author of the study is Diana Diaz Rizzolo.
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