Diabetes is a syndrome which causes a disordered metabolism, and results in abnormally high blood sugar levels that damage our bodies. For now, there isn't a cure, though the disease is manageable with the aid of anti-diabetic drugs including pills and insulin shots.
While a cure eludes doctors and scientists, Complementary and Alternative medicine (all therapies excluding conventional medicine) might enable the disease management a lot better without any side effects, perhaps.
How broccoli fights the disease?
One of the most undesirable consequences of having diabetes is the increased risk of getting heart disease and stroke. In fact people with the disease are at risk, five time over than healthy individuals.
So how broccoli helps? Researchers from the UK, based on the findings of a study suggest that broccoli has the potential to heal the damage done by the disease to heart blood vessels.
Apparently, the green vegetable houses a chemical compound known as sulforaphane, which helps the cause, as it has been found to increase enzymes responsible for protecting blood vessels of the heart in addition to reducing the harmful molecules that cause the damage.
The harmful molecule is called the Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), and is present in quantities 3 times more in diabetics than in healthy people. And the helpful component (sulforaphane) found in broccoli, reduces ROS molecules. In fact, it was even found to reverse the increase in ROS due to high blood sugar by 73 per cent. The scientists at the University of Warwick carried out this study published in the Journal, "Diabetes."
How spices can rescue diabetics?
For thousands of years, man has made good use of spices and herbs to add a dash of delight to culinary offerings, but no one knew that the same would be found to be highly potent against diabetes, one day.
Now the researchers at the researchers at the University of Georgia have discovered, that herbs and spices known to be rich in antioxidants, are in addition potent inhibitors of tissue damage and inflammation caused due to high blood sugar levels. These findings have been published in the Journal of Medicinal Food. The paper, identifies extracts from 24 common herbs and spices, which have been studied.
Apparently, when the levels of blood sugar are high it leads to the formation of compounds known as known as advanced glycation end products, or AGE compounds. The compounds in turn trigger the immune system and lead to inflammation and tissue damage that goes along with diabetes and aging.
However, herbs and spices have a high content of phenols, the helpful compounds, which inhibit tissue damage and inflammation. For instance, cloves and cinnamon derive 30 percent and 18 percent of dry weight from phenols. And hence consuming spices has a healing effect. In fact when tried on mice, cinnamon was effective in lowering blood sugar.
Many natural substances are slowly being shown to show promise against disease, and so are many conventional medicines. But the best part perhaps is, that every day food items such as spices that may be a component of alternative medicines, help without causing side-effects.