Friday, 19 April 2013

JDRF Guest Blog Post: Could Garlic Help People With Diabetes?

With over 2.35 million people affected by type 2 diabetes in the UK the race is on to find a way to prevent deaths caused by diabetics complications such as kidney failure, heart disease and stroke. Indeed, heart disease is the leading cause of death in diabetics who are up to four times more at the risk of death from heart disease as non-diabetics. Used as a traditional treatment in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East for centuries and growing in popularity as a health supplement in the West, garlic is well known for its ability to purify the blood, regulate the bile ducts and activate gastric juices. In recent trials and studies findings have singled out garlic as the number one miracle food.

Rich in active biochemicals, it is thought that consuming garlic could offer metabolic benefits to those suffering with type 2 diabetes. Garlic is also helpful for diabetics as it helps to lower cholesterol levels by preventing the formation of cholesterol by the liver. As a fermentable carbohydrate, garlic is good at stabilising blood sugar levels and recent research has shown that these carbohydrates trigger the release of gut hormones that enhance insulin sensitivity – reducing blood sugar levels and controlling your weight.

Even eating moderate amounts or taking garlic supplements can help to regulate blood glucose and aid blood flow. Foods such as garlic are the key to helping in the war against diabetes by enhancing the body’s sensitivity to insulin. Scientists believe that the 400 chemical components found in garlic including allicin, allyl propyl disulfide and S-allyl cysteine sulfoxide work to raise insulin levels in the blood by regulating the liver’s activity so that more insulin is available in the body.

In terms of countering heart disease, garlic is believed to have significant potential for preventing cardiomyopathy a common form of heart disease that inflames and weakens the heart's muscle tissue. But how does it work?

Like onions, leeks and chives, garlic is rich in sulphur compounds. It is the presence of sulphur which provides its distinctive smell that is so very important in keeping the heart healthy. Garlic’s sulphur compounds combat the vessel inflammation associated with cardiomyopathy, easing the damage caused to heart valve linings caused by oxidizing free radicals. These sulfur compounds also lower blood pressure in the course of their conversion to hydrogen sulfide. This process dilates the blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. Furthermore, garlic has been shown to lower the risk of blood clotting by preventing blood platelets in the blood from becoming too sticky.

For those not fond of the herb’s unique taste, most experts agree that there is no need for garlic to be eaten in its raw form to benefit from its wonderful properties. Indeed, cooked garlic or garlic extracts and oils can likewise provide good protection against free radical. The charity Diabetes UK is now funding research into the health benefits of the herb which, if proved to be effective, could revolutionise treatments for obesity and type 2 diabetes for future generations around the world.

Written by Alexa Downing

Visit the JDRF website: Diabetes

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely brilliant. Thank you for bringing your lovely thoughts into this post!!