Antioxidants Improve Diabetes Complication
July 24, 2008—People with type 2 diabetes are more likely to suffer from memory problems, especially right after eating. A new study in Nutrition Research found that taking antioxidant vitamins with food can help people with diabetes offset the memory-robbing effects of a heavy meal.
Putting antioxidants to the test
Diabetes is characterized by higher than normal blood sugar (glucose) levels. Long-term elevations in blood sugar increase the body’s production of free radicals—tissue-damaging compounds that cause many of the complications of diabetes including eye and kidney damage, heart disease, and memory impairment. Eating a meal increases free radical production in the body, and people with diabetes are particularly prone to the negative effects of this sudden rise.
In the new study, 16 adults with diabetes, on separate occasions, were given a high-fat high-carbohydrate meal or the same meal plus 1,000 mg of vitamin C and 800 IU of vitamin E. After eating, they took a series of tests to measure memory capacity.
After eating the test meal alone, the people had a harder time remembering words and information presented to them. Taking antioxidant vitamins with the meal prevented this from happening. “In adults with type 2 diabetes, co-consumption of antioxidant vitamins minimizes meal-induced memory impairment, implicating oxidative stress as a potential contributor to these decrements,” said the study’s authors.
Upgrade your diet for better health and sharper memory
While taking supplements can be useful in the short term, it’s a good idea to eat healthful foods that are naturally rich in antioxidants and other substances known to combat diabetes like fiber, magnesium, and chromium.
• Eat lower-fat meals. Limit packaged and snack foods, and cook foods at home to control the amount of fat, sugar, and other processed ingredients that go into a meal.
• Use unprocessed foods in meal preparation. Skip “white foods” like flour, rice, bread, potatoes, and sugar. Whole grains may be substituted for processed ones; these will not have the same detrimental effects on blood sugar and memory function.
• Focus on antioxidant-rich foods. Great choices include berries, winter squash, cantaloupe, sweet potato, broccoli, tomatoes, oranges, pomegranate, artichoke, red grapes, nuts and seeds, sweet peppers, mango, legumes, whole grains, and dark green leafy veggies (kale, collards, chard).
(Nutr Res 2008;28:423–9)
Kimberly Beauchamp, ND, earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Rhode Island and her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA. She cofounded South County Naturopaths in Wakefield, RI. Dr. Beauchamp practices as a birth doula and lectures on topics including whole-foods nutrition, detoxification, and women’s health.
Copyright © 2008 Healthnotes, Inc. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of the Healthnotes® content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Healthnotes, Inc. Healthnotes Newswire is for educational or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment for any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health, you should always consult with a healthcare professional. Healthnotes, Inc. shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. HEALTHNOTES and the Healthnotes logo are registered trademarks of Healthnotes, Inc.