Eggplant controls type 2 diabetes

By Vibha Varshney
Published: Sunday 30 September 2007

A native cure on the platter<s diabetics tired of diets heavy on bitter gourd can now find solace in the eggplant or brinjal (Solanum melongena). The vegetable is said to be extremely effective in controlling type 2 diabetes.

The disease is different from the genetically inherited type 1 diabetes. It has emerged as a big problem in recent years due to lack of physical activity and changing dietary habits, which include more of refined carbohydrates and less of legumes and vegetables.

Earlier, us experts had recommended eggplant-based diet for those suffering from type 2 diabetes. The vegetable has high-fibre content and is low in soluble carbohydrates, they said. But they failed to explain the mechanism through which the vegetable controls the disease.

Food scientists from the University of Massachusetts, usa, now have an answer.The vegetable is also rich with phenols, the antioxidant properties of which actually help control blood sugar levels among diabetics. Phenols regulate the body's carbohydrate metabolism. This gives insulin more time to break down the carbohydrates, particularly from refined foods that are devoid of any fibre or vitamin content.

The research is significant for India. By 2025, the country is predicted to have the world's largest number of people suffering from type 2 diabetes. The vegetable is native to the region and many varieties are available here. "India thus needs to go back to its food diversity and traditional food habits. I remember the dietary habit of my grandparents, who lived well into their 90s," says Kalidas Shetty, the lead researcher. Findings of the research will be published in the journal Bioresource Technology shortly.

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