Eating green leafy vegetables and whole fruits instead of drinking fruit juice may lower diabetes risk in women, according to new research from Tulane University.
In this study, researchers looked at 71,346 women enrolled in the Nurses' Health Study. During the 18-year follow-up, 4,529 women developed type 2 diabetes. These women were divided into five groups based on fruit and vegetable intake, and fruit juice consumption.
When compared to women who didn't increase their consumption of whole fruit, women who added three servings of whole fruit each day dropped their risk of type 2 diabetes by 18 percent.
Women who ate one additional serving of leafy green vegetables - like kale, spinach or romaine lettuce - were nine percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes when compared with their peers who didn't increase their leafy green vegetable intake.
When women who drank more fruit juice were compared with those who didn't drink more fruit juice, drinking one more serving of fruit juice every day was found to increase the likelihood of developing diabetes by 18 percent.
According to Canada's Food Guide, one serving of whole fruit is equal to one whole apple, orange or banana, or one half-cup (125 ml) of berries, cherries or other small fruits. One half-cup (125 ml) of cooked leafy green vegetables or one cup (250 ml) of raw salad greens counts as one serving of vegetables.
The Food Guide also says that one-half cup (125 ml) of 100% fruit juice is equal to one serving of fruit.
Canadian women are advised to eat 7 to 8 servings of vegetables and fruits every day.
According to a 1997 survey by Health Canada, 156,000 Canadian women aged 35 to 64 are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes every year.
For more information on how to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, check out Leslie Beck's Foods that Fight Disease.
This study was published in the July 2008 issue of Diabetes Care.
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