A longitudinal study has found an association between higher consumption of dietary carotenoids and a reduced risk of insulin resistance (IR). Carotenoids, the natural plant chemicals in vegetables, may halve the risk of insulin resistance in adults.
The study involved 1106 Iranian adults, men and women, aged 19–74 years. Their eating habits were tracked over three years, and their intake of carotenoids was compared to their risk of insulin resistance. Researchers found that those who ate the most of the carotenoids B-carotene and B-cryptoxanthin had a 58 per cent and 49 per cent lower risk of insulin resistance respectively, compared with those who ate the least.
The researchers suggested that the protective effect of some types of carotenoids is most likely because of their antioxidant properties. Dietitians Associaton of Australia (DAA) spokesperson, Duane Miller, said that vegetables are packed full of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, fibre, and vital phytochemicals, such as carotenoids, that can protect against chronic diseases.
Dr Mellor said, “Insulin is a hormone, and is vital in helping our bodies use glucose (sugars) from the foods we eat. But when people have insulin resistance, our bodies ‘resist’ the hormone, and over time, this can lead to high blood sugar levels. So the more we do to help keep insulin doing its job effectively, the more we reduce our risk of type 2 diabetes, Australia’s fastest-growing chronic disease, as well our risk of metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease.”
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