African garden egg perfect food option for diabetes

NUTRITIONISTS recommend African garden egg as a perfect food option for those interested in losing weight because of its high fibre content. It fills up the tummy quickly, and this subsequently reduces consumption of other high calories options.

What is more, African garden egg is also a perfect snack for those with diabetes or those concerned about preventing complications of diabetes on their liver.

Wonder, why this is so? Well, researchers  in a study said garden eggs curb elevated blood sugar by inhibiting key enzymes associated with the development of type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is a common condition that affects a person’s blood sugar (glucose) control, and left untreated, serious health complications can occur, including kidney failure, nerve damage, heart disease and stroke.

Symptoms of diabetes often occur slowly and can include fatigue, increased thirst, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss and blurred vision.

People with, or at risk for, diabetes, should follow a balanced diet that emphasises fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and healthy fats in appropriate serving sizes.

Also, different varieties of garden eggs found in Africa has a low glycemic index as well as a blood cholesterol-lowering and antioxidant effects.

Researchers in this study said that Solanum kumba was the best option in terms of its nutritional properties. Also, garden egg was able to manage the effect of the streptozotocin (STZ)-induced kidney toxicity in male Wistar rats than the metformin-treated group.

This 2018 study published in the journal, Food Science and Nutrition involved Esther Emem Nwanna at the Federal University of Technology, Akure in collaboration with Emmanuel O. Ibukun and Ganiyu oboh.

For the study, the researchers determined the effect of eggplant diet supplementation on kidneys of Wistar rats that had diabetes and then assessed their blood sugar lowering effect over a 14-day period.

They also determined the antioxidant properties as well as the nutritional and glycemic index of these commonly found eggplants (Solanum kumba, Solanum aethiopicum, and Solanum gilo) indigenous to sub-Saharan Africa.

The glycemic index (GI) measures the effects that certain foods have on blood sugar levels. Foods can have a low, medium, or high GI value depending on various factors, including food particle size, processing techniques and cooking methods.

Analysis of these African eggplants showed that they had moderate content of carbohydrate, high fibre as well as low fat, protein and low ash contents. All the eggplant had a low glycemic index below 50 per cent. It ranges between 30.16 per cent and 38.65 per cent.

The diabetes-induced animals that were treated with metformin and eggplant diet had a lower level of triglycerides, cholesterol, and low-density lipoproteins while there were increased high-density lipoproteins.

This study to further explore the function of these indigenous species of eggplant observed that 40 per cent Solanum kumba eggplant diet was more effective than the 20 per cent.

There are many varieties of the African eggplant, with a range of shapes, sizes and colours, the eggplant most commonly found across Africa is ‘Solanum aethiopicum’. This variety has a brilliant red exterior and is about the size and shape of an egg, giving it the name, garden egg.

Eggplant such as Solanum kumba, Solanum aethiopicum, and Solanum gilo are commonly found in all season in Nigeria. Commonly called garden egg or scarlet eggplants, they are consumed daily in different forms such as in soup and stew, eaten raw either used as fruits or vegetables.

Eggplants are part of folklore remedy, which is used to curb elevated blood sugar and increased weight gain in Nigeria.

Different reports have emphasised natural products such as medicinal plants or plant fruits and vegetables such as avocado, based on folklore as medicine to treat or manage diabetes.

Research shows that replacing a low-fat, complex-carbohydrate rich diet with an avocado-rich diet can significantly improve blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

The research from the University of Guelph suggests avocado may even protect against type 2 diabetes because it contains a compound, known as avocatin B, found only in avocados inhibit processes in the pancreas that normally lead to diabetes.

The main sugar found in avocado is a unique form known as D-mannopheptulose which does not act as conventional sugar. It helps to satisfy the sensations of hunger and supports improved blood glucose control and weight management.

Together with their protein content, avocados are particularly filling and boost the tendency to eat less overall.

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