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A leaf to prevent disease

Friday August 20th, 2010

People should add one or two portions of lettuce or cabbage to their diets to protect themselves against developing diabetes, researchers said today.

An average of one and a half servings a day of green leafy vegetables cuts risk by 14 per cent, according to an analysis published by the British Medical Journal.

More than two million people a year lose their lives worldwide every year because they do not eat enough fruit and vegetables, researchers claimed.

Researcher Patrice Carter, of Leicester University, UK, says Britons are especially vulnerable - as just 14 per cent eat the recommended five portions a day of fruit and vegetables.

Her analysis of research suggests that green leafy vegetables hold the key to beating diabetes. She examined six pieces of research involving some 220,000 people.

Ms Carter says leafy vegetables, such as spinach, may be especially beneficial because they have a high content of the mineral magnesium.

The researchers write: "Our results support the evidence that foods rather than isolated components such as antioxidants are beneficial for health. Results from several supplement trials have produced disappointing results for prevention of disease."

Writing in the same journal, Professor Jim Mann, of the University of Otago, New Zealand, warns against seeing leafy vegetables as a "magic bullet" for boosting health.

He says: "It may be too early to dismiss a small reduction in risk for overall fruit and vegetable intake or other specific types of fruits and vegetables and too early for a conclusion regarding green leafy vegetables."

British Medical Journal on-line August 20 2010

Tags: Diabetes | Diet & Food | UK News

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