British researchers reviewed six earlier studies on links between diabetes and the consumption of fruits and vegetables found that eating an extra serving a day of vegetables like spinach, cabbage, and broccoli reduced adults' risk of getting type 2 diabetes by 14 percent.
The studies that researchers analyzed included more than 200,000 adults between 30 and 74 years old, in the United States, China and Finland for periods of 4 to 23 years, recording how many servings of fruits and vegetables each participant ate on a daily and examining who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
The researchers found no significant difference in diabetes risk with higher intake of vegetables in general, fruits in general, or combinations of vegetables and fruits.
However, green leafy vegetables stood out, with an increase of 1.15 servings a day producing a 14 percent decrease in an individual's risk of developing diabetes.
While the findings, published in the British Medical Journal, don't prove that the veggies themselves prevent diabetes, people who eat more green leafy vegetables may also have a healthier diet overall, exercise more, or may be better off financially than people who don't load up on greens.
However, the data suggests that green leafy vegetables are key.
Researchers note that all fruits and vegetables are good, but the data significantly show that green leafy vegetables are particularly interesting, so further investigation is warranted.
Green leafy vegetables include spinach, bok choy, arugula, collard and dandelion greens and kale. From a nutrition standpoint, they're low in calories and fat, high in dietary fiber, iron, calcium, and very high in phytochemicals such as vitamin C, carotenoids, lutein and folic acid as well as Vitamin K.
Looking for healthy ways to add green leafy vegetables to your diet? Pick up Leslie Beck's Foods that Fight Disease for serving and preparation tips, as well as recipes.
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