An apple a day can help prevent diabetes

An apple a day really keeps the doctor away. New health guidelines suggested that eating apple a day could help prevent diabetes. Other foods and drinks, such as yogurt, cheese, and regular cups of tea or coffee, are also being recommended in new health guidelines designed to prevent diabetes.

A team of researchers from Oxford University and the organization Diabetes UK came up with these new guidelines based on evidence from more than 500 scientific studies.

“We’ve made these dietary guidelines in terms of food and not nutrients… because food is what people eat, they don’t eat ‘nutrients’. And it’s a message that’s far easier to communicate with people when you’re talking about foods they actually eat,” said Pamela Dyson, a research dietitian at Oxford University and co-chair of the guidelines. (Related: An apple a day really does work: The flavonoid-rich fruit improves cardiovascular health, decreases risk of disease.)

This is the first time that health guidelines enumerated which specific foods could help prevent the condition, which is also linked to obesity. Before this update, people who had a high risk of developing diabetes were given advice based on nutrients and not on what particular foods that should or should not be consumed, such as increasing fiber intake by 15 percent or losing body weight by five percent.

The new guidelines advised eating more whole grains and fruit and vegetables, such as apples, grapes, blueberries, and green leafy vegetables. In addition, eating dairy products, such as yogurt and cheese, and drinking tea or coffee in moderate amounts can be beneficial. Furthermore, the guidelines advised the limited consumption of red and processed meat, sugary drinks, potatoes – particularly potato chips – and refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and white rice.  People at a high risk of developing diabetes should also lose weight and increase their daily physical activity and exercise levels.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus, is a disease wherein the blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high. Glucose is obtained from the food you eat, which is why a healthy diet is important in preventing diabetes. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose get into the cells to provide them energy. Sometimes the body does not produce enough insulin, or not at all, or does not utilize insulin properly. Thus, glucose stays in the blood and dose not reach the cells. Having too much glucose in the blood causes serious health problems. It can harm the eyes, kidneys, and nerves. There are three most common types of diabetes: type-1 diabetes, type-2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes.

Type-1 diabetes occurs when your body does not produce insulin. With this diabetes type, the immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. Although it can appear in people of any age, it is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. Patients of type-1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to survive.

In type-2 diabetes, the body does not use insulin properly. It is the most common type of diabetes. This type of diabetes can develop at any age, even in childhood, although it most often develops in middle-aged and older people.

Lastly, gestational diabetes is the type of diabetes that occurs in some women during pregnancy. Most often, gestational diabetes goes away after giving birth. However, those who have this type of diabetes are more likely to develop type-2 diabetes later in life. There are also instances wherein diabetes diagnosed during pregnancy is actually type-2 diabetes.

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