One in 10 people over the age of 40 are living with type 2 diabetes in the UK. This blood sugar condition stems from insufficient insulin production – a hormone that helps to regulate blood sugar. Stripped of this key mechanism, your blood glucose levels can reach dangerous heights, triggering a cascade of complications. Fortunately, diet is one of the greatest weapons in your arsenal.
Whether you use it as a base for your pasta sauce or as the main ingredient in your meal, onion is a popular vegetable.
Research, presented at The Endocrine Society’s 97th annual meeting in San Diego, makes a strong case for adding the “cheap” vegetable to your blood sugar lowering diet.
The researchers found that the extract of onion, Allium cepa, was able to “strongly” lower high blood sugar when administered along metformin.
In case you’re not aware, metformin is the main first-line medication used for treating type 2 diabetes.
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What’s more, the onion extract used in the study was prepared from an onion bulb available in the local supermarket.
Lead investigator Anthony Ojieh said: “Onion is cheap and available and has been used as a nutritional supplement.
“It has the potential for use in treating patients with diabetes.”
The research team tested this extract on rats, divided into different groups.
Furthermore, the common vegetable was also able to bust high cholesterol levels.
High cholesterol describes a build-up of a fatty substance in your blood which can hike your risk of serious health problems, ranging from heart disease to stroke.
Similarly to high blood glucose, the dose of 400mg and 600mg proved the most potent for cholesterol.
The extract also led to weight gain among nondiabetic rats, however, the diabetic models didn’t experience this weight increase.
Professor Ojieh said: “Onion is not high in calories.
“However, it seems to increase the metabolic rate and, with that, to increase the appetite, leading to an increase in feeding.”
While the vegetable was linked to striking results, the researchers are currently not sure what the potent part targeting blood sugar is.
Professor Oljeh added: “We need to investigate the mechanism by which onion brought about the blood glucose reduction. We do not yet have an explanation.”