This high-protein plant could help reduce blood sugar after meals

Credit: CC0 Public Domain.

Scientists from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev found that Mankai, a new high-protein aquatic plant strain of duckweed, could help control blood sugar.

The research is published in Diabetes Care and was conducted by Hila Zelicha et al.

Mankai is a cultivated strain of the aquatic plant commonly known as duckweed.

Research has found that it is an excellent source of numerous nutrients including vitamin K, folate, vitamins A, zinc, and iron.

Mankai is the world’s only plant source containing a complete protein with all nine essential amino acids.

In one serving of Mankai, you can get 5 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, 15% of your daily B12, a whopping 45% of your daily iron, and other nutrients including choline and omega-3 fatty acids.

In this study, researchers wanted to find out how consuming Mankai could affect after-meal and overnight blood sugar levels.

In people who don’t have diabetes, the pancreas secretes some insulin all the time. It increases its output as blood glucose rises after meals.

The team tested 20 middle-aged obese people, who were asked to replace dinner with either a green shake containing Wolffia globosa duckweed (Mankai: specific-strain) or a yogurt shake with similar carbs and calories.

They examined the after-dinner and overnight blood sugar levels in these people, and they collected information about diet, daily activity, feeling of fullness, and sleep in these participants.

The researchers found that consuming Wolffia globosa Mankai led to a lower after-meal blood sugar peak compared with yogurt, which occurred later and returned faster to pre-meal glucose levels.

They also found that a Wolffia globosa-based shake replacing dinner resulted in lower next-morning fasting blood sugar levels.

Overall, the after-meal blood sugar levels from dinner time until the next morning were lower in the Wolffia globosa Mankai green shake compared with the yogurt shake.

People who consumed Wolffia globosa Mankai also had higher satiety compared with those taking the yogurt shake.

Based on these results, the researchers suggest that Wolffia globosa Mankai duckweed may be an alternative plant protein source to benefit after-meal blood sugar levels in obese people.

Future work may test if Wolffia globosa Mankai duckweed could benefit blood sugar health in people with normal body weight and in people with diabetes.