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Researchers from Singapore have called for an urgent need for more studies on the use of common spices such as ginger and turmeric in the prevention and management of diabetes.

Polyphenols in 80 spices have been found to have an anti-glycation effect, which could be highly beneficial against diabetes. It seems there is significant scope for many everyday spices to help manage the growing epidemic of diabetes and researchers are now calling for science to back these reported benefits. 

In this most recent review published in Food Chemistry, researchers assessed the current body of research in this area. Studies on spices such as cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, coriander, aniseed, fenugreek, garlic, onion, cloves, mustard, black pepper and curry leaves and their ability to aid diabetes treatment were reviewed.

The researchers commented on their findings;

“The spice polyphenols may influence glucose metabolism via several mechanisms, such as glucose absorption in the intestine, stimulation of insulin secretion from pancreatic beta cells, modulation of glucose release from the liver, activation of insulin receptors and glucose uptake in the insulin-sensitive tissues, and modulation of hepatic glucose output. The seasoning of foods with spices has been suggested not only to increase the antioxidant content of meals, but also to have an anti-diabetic effect.”

Whilst the researchers concluded that more research is needed to fully understand this complicated relationship, and to propose recommendations on dietary intake, effective dosage and dietary guidelines, they also added:

“Seasoning of foods with spices may increase the daily intake of antioxidants and provide a possible means of decreasing the risk for developing diabetic complications and metabolic abnormalities.”

Adding more spice to your food will not only make it more tasty but could provide you with a whole host of other health benefits too, especially for anyone with diabetes. Time to spice up your life!

1. Xinyan Bi, et al. Spices in the management of diabetes mellitus.  Food Chemistry Published online ahead of print: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2016.08.111

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