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Type 2 Diabetes - Preventing Non-Alcoholic Liver Disease

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is often seen in the same people who suffer with Type 2 diabetes. Both diseases are associated with obesity and insulin resistance and those people with both these diseases are at risk for heart disease and liver failure. Improving insulin sensitivity by physical activity and normalizing weight are strongly recommended for preventing and controlling both conditions.

According to an article published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research in December 2013, many foods and nutrients known to be helpful in preventing and controlling Type 2 diabetes are also ideal for treating non-alcoholic liver disease.

Scientists at the National Taiwan University in Taipei, Taiwan, write that nutrients found in fruits and vegetables are helpful in preventing and improving the condition. They list carotenoids, omega 3-PUFAs, flavonoids, isothiocyanates, terpenoids, curcumin, and resveratrol.

Carotenoids are red, orange, and yellow molecules found in many vegetables. In the human body they are converted to retinol, or vitamin A, which is why carrots are well-known for their vitamin A content. Carotenoids serve as antioxidants in plants and might have the same function in humans. Even if it were not for liver disease, carotenoids are thought to play important roles in immunity, preventing lung and prostate cancer, and preventing blindness associated with advancing age. Besides carrots, other sources of carotenoids include:

sweet potatoes,
winter squash,
collard greens,
turnip greens,
dandelion greens, and
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids - besides their possible role in preventing non-alcoholic liver disease, omega 3-PUFAS are also thought to be helpful in preventing heart and blood vessel disease, inflammation, and dementia. Flaxseed, soybean products, canola oil, chia seeds, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds are good sources.

Flavonoids are being studied for a wide range of activities, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Good sources include:

red, blue and purple berries,
red grapes,
soy beans,
yellow onions, and
citrus fruits.
Isothiocyanates are thought to play a role in anti-inflammatory and antibacterial activity, as well as helping to rid the body of some drugs and cancer-causing toxins. Good sources include vegetables such as kale, cabbage, and broccoli.

Terpenoids are plant anti-oxidants and are being investigated for their possible antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Good sources include tomatoes, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger.

Curcumin is the main spice found in turmeric, a member of the ginger family. It has been studied for its possible role in treating cancer, psoriasis, and Alzheimer's disease. Turmeric is often used as a spice in Indian curries.

Resveratrol is being studied for possible use in lowering blood sugar levels. Red grapes and blueberries are good sources.

Type 2 diabetes is not a condition you must just live with. By making simple changes to your daily routine, its possible to protect your heart, kidneys, eyes and limbs from the damage often caused by high blood sugar, and eliminate many of the complications you may already experience.

By Beverleigh H Piepers

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