Type 2 diabetes has become a serious and growing health problem worldwide affecting about 400 million people. 2016 was declared the International Year of Legumes to give value to its various health benefits. Now, research shows that a high consumption of pulses – which are a subgroup of vegetables – such as peas, soybeans, chickpeas or lentils significantly reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Researchers from the Human Nutrition Unit of the Rovira i Virgili University of Tarragona (Spain), along with other researchers from the Mediterranean Diet Prevention Study ( PREDIMED ), aimed to investigate the consumption of vegetables associated with type 2 diabetes risk In people with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
The study involved the participation of 3,349 PREDIMED volunteers who had not developed type 2 diabetes at baseline. Data on participants’ diets were examined each year with a mean follow-up of 4.3 years. A low consumption of vegetables was established in approximately 1.5 weekly servings of 60 grams of raw vegetables, or 12.73 grams per day.
A high consumption of vegetables was established as 28.75 grams a day of vegetables, or the equivalent of 3.35 servings per week. Using Cox regression models, the experts analyzed the impact of type 2 diabetes on participants. During the follow-up period, the team added 266 new cases of type 2 diabetes.
The study found that people with a higher intake of vegetables were 35% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes , compared to those who ate less vegetables. Of all the vegetables studied, lentils had the strongest association at a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
In fact, the volunteers who ate the most lentils were 33% less likely to develop diabetes compared to participants taking less than Half a portion per week. “A frequent consumption of legumes, particularly lentils in the context of a Mediterranean diet, can provide benefits in the prevention of type 2 diabetes in older adults at high cardiovascular risk”.