Curry May Prevent Diabetes

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A new study shows that a spice may help keep diabetes away. The medical journal, Diabetes Care, found that when given curcumin people who were classified as pre-diabetic were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those given a placebo.

The researchers studied a group of 240 people classified as pre-diaabetic. One part of the group took the curcumin capsules, and the other took a placebo for a period of 9 months. They then did a follow up on the study group at three month intervals. Nine months after the completion of the trials, none of the test group developed diabetes. However, over 16 percent of the control group had developed the disease.

"This study demonstrated that the curcumin intervention in a prediabetes population may be beneficial," the researchers said.

Curcumin's Roots

The curcumin compound is found in turmeric, which is a tuber relative of ginger. Turmeric is a common Indian spice used in many curry blends. The plant is native to tropical South Asia, and is widely used in Indian cuisine. Oddly though, according to the World Health Organization, India has the highest population of diabetics, with 50.8 million people living with the disease. Although some of this may be due to India’s large population, the rate of diabetics still outpaces China, which has the largest population in the world.

In 2008, however, an animal study done on turmeric concurred with the study’s findings. In this study, published by the journal Endocrinology, mice were also less likely to develop type 2 diabetes when given turmeric. The new findings confirm these results, but further study is needed to further confirm the link.

Diet and Exercise Still Recommended

This preliminary study has pointed to some possible benefits, but many doctors are staying the course of traditional treatment. According to a report from Reuters, Constance Brown-Riggs, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, said she, “would continue to recommend a healthy diet and exercise to patients as a way to prevent diabetes.”


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