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I recently interviewed Joe Arnold, from Kansas US, who managed to get off all of his diabetic medication after just 2 weeks of juicing. So could juicing vegetables be a way to cut your diabetes risk?

Spinach and leafy greens

Joe Arnold lists spinach as one of his favourite juicing ingredients, alongside green apples, ginger, cucumbers, celery and oranges. With UK researchers saying a diet rich in green leafy vegetables may reduce the risk of developing diabetes, perhaps the spinach was a key ingredient in helping Joe get off his diabetic medication.

“I have had many health issues that were getting worse and I had gained allot of weight within the past year. With family history of numerous medical issues and being heavy, I knew it was a time for a change.”

Joe Arnold

In an analysis of six studies into fruit and vegetable intake, researchers from Leicester University in the UK, found only food including spinach and cabbage was found to have a significant positive effect. A portion and a half a day was found to cut type 2 diabetes risk by 14%, according to a report in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

Experts have urged people to continue to aim for at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and I would stress the importance of getting a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet, either by eating them or by juicing a rainbow.

Significant risk reduction

The researchers reviewed data from the studies of 220,000 adults in total. They found that eating more fruit and vegetables in general was not strongly linked with a smaller chance of developing type 2 diabetes but “there was a general trend in that direction”. Yet when it came to green leafy vegetables, which the researchers said also includes broccoli and cauliflower, the risk reduction was significant.

The team calculated that a daily dose of 106g reduced the risk of diabetes by 14% – a UK “portion” is classed as 80g.

It is not clear why green leafy vegetables may have a protective effect but one reason may be they are high in antioxidants, such as vitamin C and another theory is that they contain high levels of magnesium.

Study leader Professor Melanie Davies, professor of diabetic medicine at the University of Leicester, said the message to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day remains an important one, but she added: “People like very specific health messages. We know that intake of fruit and vegetables is important, but this study suggests that green leafy vegetables seem to be particularly important in terms of preventing diabetes.”

Only one in five gets “Five-a-day”

In 2012 a poll for World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) suggested that just one in five Britons eats the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. This is despite the Department of Health’s five-a-day campaign which was launched in 2003.

In an editorial in the BMJ, Professor Jim Mann from the University of Otago in New Zealand, stressed that the message of increasing overall fruit and vegetable intake must not be lost “in a plethora of magic bullets,” even though green leafy vegetables clearly can be included as one of the daily portions.

Dr Iain Frame, director of research at Diabetes UK said: “We already know that the health benefits of eating vegetables are far-reaching but this is the first time that there has been a suggested link specifically between green leafy vegetables and a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.”

But he warned the evidence was limited and it was too early to isolate green leafy vegetables and present them alone as a method to cut the chances of developing the condition.

“We would be concerned if focusing on certain foods detracted from the advice to eat five portions of fruits and vegetables a day, which has benefits in terms of reducing heart disease, stroke, some cancers and obesity as well as type 2 diabetes.”

three green juices

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