Antioxidants Decrease Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases in Young Female Diabetics

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Diabetic patients are at risk of developing different types of diseases including cardiovascular problems. This is especially true among those who have Type 1 diabetes. As a chronic condition, Type 1 diabetes has deleterious effects. Since the pancreas produces little to no insulin that forces the sugar to enter the cells to be used as a source of energy. Recent studies suggest that women who suffer from Type 1 diabetes have two or three times the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases compared to men with the same condition.

The Role Of Antioxidants

While antioxidants are among the most popular dietary ingredients for people who suffer from different types of diseases, new studies have found out that there is indeed a reason why they are considered as a magic bullet.

antioxidants free radicals oxidative stress vitamins fruits vegetables mineralsAntioxidants play an essential role in the well-being of female patients who have diabetes. Aside from acting as a free-radical sponge, its mechanism of action helps protect the vascular functions specifically among diabetic patients.

Associate professor Ryan Harris from Augusta University focused on the protective effects of antioxidants to the heart. As the lead researcher at Augusta’s Medical College, they looked into how antioxidants can affect the health of the heart especially among women who have Type 1 diabetes.

Estrogen And Diabetes Among Women

Estrogen plays a vital role in the onset of cardiovascular diseases among female Type 1 diabetic patients.  This particular sex hormone is also found to increase the levels of oxidative stress on the blood vessels–specifically its ability to dilate.

Harris noted that “when you have diabetes, estrogen turns into a bad guy as it constricts the blood vessels when you have too much of it.” So how can this be addressed?

The Study Design

The study involved 90 premenopausal women with Type 1 diabetes and 30 healthy premenopausal women at 45 years old.  The researchers gave some women with an antioxidant cocktail consisting of Vitamins C and E as well as alpha lipoic acid. The studies noted that women who were given the antioxidant cocktail have positive impacts not only women with Type 1 diabetes but as well as those who suffer from COPD.

Aside from the antioxidant cocktail, the researchers also used resveratrol and found out that it also decreases the risk of cardiovascular diseases among women with Type 1 diabetes as it activates the protein Sirt1 thereby lowering the reactive oxygen produced by the endothelial cells along the blood vessels.

Aside from identifying the different antioxidants that can be potentially used to improve the well-being of diabetic patients, the researchers are looking into understanding the different pathways responsible for improving the cardiovascular health of patients who are at risk or suffering from diabetes. However, studies may take longer to finish but it does offer promising data and results.

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Eating More Plant Proteins Can Reduce The Risk Of Diabetes

Plant protein benefits are currently widely studied and acknowledged by doctors, scientists, and nutritionists. Plant-based food manufacturers are developing different products to provide many options not only for vegans and vegetarians but also for new flexitarians.

Researchers have noted that many people eat too much meat and not enough vegetables and fruits. The National Institute of Health issued a guideline for physicians to recommend to their patients to eat plant-based proteins as an alternative to animal protein and as an effective way to reduce the risk for high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, high BMI, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

The Study On Type 2 Diabetes And Eating Plant Proteins

Latest studies reveal that consuming less animal meat, particularly processed meat and replacing it with nuts, whole grains, and other plant-based sources can significantly reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.  In fact, a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition noted that eating even a hundred grams of unprocessed meat every day can increase the likelihood of getting type 2 diabetes by as much as 19% while consumption of processed meats was linked to a 51% risk.

The long-term study involved 2,332 Finnish men between the age 42 and 60 years old. The respondents were examined according to their protein intake and their risk for type 2 diabetes. The study found out that replacing 15 of calories from animal protein with the same amount of plant protein can decrease the possibility of type 2 diabetes by as much as 18%.


The Shift From Animal To Plant-Based Proteins

New research concerning the harmful effects of red meat on health has pushed many consumers to eat healthily. In fact, the consumption of red meat in the United States fell by 33% since 1970 to about 101 lbs. per individual per year while the number of vegetarians has remained stable at 3%. Meanwhile, the number of vegetarian products has doubled over the past decade.

Studies about the health benefits of plant-based diets have encouraged some meat eaters to incorporate more plant proteins in their meals. This has also led to many food companies like Tyson to invest in companies like Beyond Meat.

While it pays to be a vegetarian, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics noted that not all vegetarians are equal. For instance, vegetarians who consume eggs and dairy can get their daily dose of healthy protein while vegans need to eat a broad range of grains, nuts, and beans to supplement their protein needs.

More and more people are encouraged to eat plant proteins, and food manufacturers can play a paramount role as they fill this particular niche.

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The Medical Food Trend is Growing

Hippocrates once said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Despite the advancements in medical technology, many people are now considering medical food and nutrition to treat diseases and improve health conditions.

In a survey conducted by Nielsen, 39% of American households have someone who suffers from a particular ailment. And with the aging population increasing, chronic diseases will only grow in the coming years. Traditionally, people have turned to medications to solve these problems.

According to the Nielsen’s Global Health and Ingredient Sentiment Survey, 70% of consumers worldwide and 60% of the American respondents noted that they are actively making choices for their health to avoid different conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and high cholesterol.

What is Medical Food?

Medical food is a new concept, but it is defined as food formulated for the dietary management of diseases with distinct nutritional needs that a traditional diet cannot fulfill. Medical food should be nutritionally complete and are designed to meet the distinct nutritional requirements of particular patients.

Companies like Hormel and Nestlé are now looking into medical foods to help their consumers manage their ailments through nutrition. Manufacturers want to join the niche of medical food because of the rising trend. Food brands who are delving into medical food are looking into producing foods intended for patients suffering from obesity, lactose intolerance, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, and gluten intolerance. Food companies understand that being health-conscious is one thing but using medical food is a safer way to treat chronic illness.

The Future of Medical Food

The concept of medical foods is still in its infancy stage, but many question its future. With many people suffering from chronic diseases, consumers are looking for ways on how to manage their conditions without relying too much on conventional medicine and treatments.

Medical foods will go through a lot of scrutiny than conventionally processed foods. The extra attention that medical food gets will not only be focused on its nutrition claims, but also its safety as well as marketing. Marketing is critical because brands should not sell medical foods that fail to meet its promises.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is responsible for regulating medical foods under the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act Regulations 21 CFR 101.9(j) (8). The regulations for medical foods is not yet that strict, so food companies are not required to get approval by the FDA nor undergo premarket review. Moreover, they are exempted from getting labeling requirements for its health claims. Although the regulations for medical foods are not that stringent, they will surely change as the market expands. Medical food has a bright future but will face challenges from the FDA and consumers as the industry niche grows.

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NPR Report: Dairy Fat Linked to Lower Diabetes Risk

If you love to eat cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products, then this article is for you.  A new study revealed that the consumption of dairy fats that are found in cheese, yogurt, and milk have protective effects against Type 2 diabetes.

Published in the journal Circulation and cited in the website NPR, the study reviewed the blood samples of adult participants to measure the biomarkers for dairy fat. The study started during the late 1980s and over the next twenty years, researchers tracked down the same people and determined who developed diabetes.

Interestingly, the study showed that individuals who consume most dairy fat in their diet have a 50% lower risk of developing diabetes compared to those who consumed less to no dairy fat at all. The lead author, Dariush Mozaffarian from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, noted that this study debunks the idea that eating saturated fat–those found in dairy products–is harmful to the body.


Health Benefits of Dairy Fat

Research published in the European Journal of Nutrition indicates that the consumption of full dairy fat is good for controlling weight gain than the consumption of low-fat dairy. Low obesity risk also means a lowered risk for type 2 diabetes. But how can a high-calorie food be useful in controlling weight? Experts noted that not all calories are equal and drinking full fat milk can make people feel satiated sooner and for a longer time thus making an individual eat less with a longer time duration in between meals.

Another important characteristic of full-fat dairy milk is that the fatty acids found in milk play a paramount role in gene expression as well as hormone regulation. This means that the acids can crank up how much energy the body burns. The fats found in dairy foods also contain a lot of complex micro and macro nutrients.  Full-fat milk contains 62% saturated fat, 30% monosaturated fat, 4% polyunsaturated fat and 4% naturally occurring trans fatty acids. It also contains linoleic acid.

The study noted that drinking full fat milk is not only effective in controlling weight among adults but also children. In fact, children who have a higher intake of whole milk do not gain much weight over time compared to those who consume skim or non-fat dairy products.


Moderation is Still the Key to Good Health

While the consumption of dairy fat, according to the NPR article, can reduce the risk of developing diabetes, heart diseases, and obesity, this does not mean that you should gorge on milk or put butter on everything that you eat. Remember that too much of a good thing is also bad.  It is important that you also consume foods that are high in fiber such as fruits and vegetables as they are critical for digestion and further helps manage the blood sugar levels in the body. Combining milk, fruits, and vegetables increases your chances of having better health.

So the next time you want to drink milk or eat cheese, ditch the low-fat ones so that you can get the full benefits of dairy fat.

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