News / Health

Curry Lowers Diabetes Risk, Study Finds

Curry spice Curry spice
x
Curry spice
Curry spice
TEXT SIZE - +
Jessica Berman
According to a World Health Organization study, the number of people with Type 2 diabetes around the world will reach 366 million by 2030. People with this condition have trouble processing dietary sugar which, instead of providing energy, builds up to dangerous levels in their blood.  Now, a small study conducted in Thailand suggests that an ingredient found in curry dishes may reduce the risk of developing the chronic disease. 

A new study suggests curcumin may lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes in people who are pre-diabetic, a condition that precedes full-blown diabetes. The substance is found in turmeric, the spice that gives curry dishes their characteristic flavor and yellow color. 

Researchers at Srinakharinwirot University in Bangkok recruited 240 people who were all pre-diabetic.  The participants were educated about the condition and how to manage it with proper diet and exercise.  None was on any medication to manage their condition.  

For nine months, half the participants took six capsules of curcumin every day, while the other half was given a placebo, or dummy pill.  By the end of the study, 16 percent of patients in the placebo group developed Type 2 diabetes. None in the curcumin group did.

Constance Brown-Riggs is a dietitian and diabetes expert with the US Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  While the study was well done and in her view significant, Brown-Riggs says curry should not be viewed as a replacement for a healthy diet and exercise when it comes to managing diabetes.

“People tend to look for a silver bullet.  They are always looking for the quick fix as I call it, which is the 'silver bullet.'  The fact is that it is generally not one supplement that is going to prevent someone from going on to develop Type 2 diabetes," noted Brown-Riggs.

For now, she cautions against using herbs and spices in a concentrated form, even though Brown-Riggs acknowledges research is beginning to show they may have healthful, anti-oxidant properties that counter the effects of inflammation, which can lead to heart disease and cancer.

"Until we get a much larger body of research to support that, eating Asian cuisine is a good way of getting this particular spice - turmeric - in the diet," she said.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease, often seen in obese individuals.  It usually begins with elevated blood sugar levels that are not high enough to be considered diabetic.  Commonly, people who begin eating better and losing weight can prevent the condition from progressing to full-blown diabetes.

In the study, people in the cucumin group also lost weight, while those in the placebo group did not.  Weight loss seems to reduce insulin resistance, the hallmark of the disease. Insulin resistance occurs when cells in the body no longer respond to the hormone which helps convert glucose from food into energy.  Blood sugar then remains elevated and, over many years, people with Type 2 diabetes can develop a host of complications, including poor blood circulation and blindness.

The Thai researchers speculate that tumeric has anti-inflammatory properties as well, that help protect insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas from damage, improving their efficiency.  In addition to insulin, beta cells produce a hormone that regulates blood sugar.

A study on curcumin’s potential benefits in reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes is published in the journal Diabetes Care.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

36 people are confirmed dead, but some 266 remain trapped on board More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid