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14 Kitchen Spices To Prevent And Manage Diabetes

Lifestyle and dietary pattern matter a lot when it comes to preventing chronic disease in the years to come. Diabetes is among the top five chronic diseases in the world and also one of the leading causes of disability and mortality.

Many people are unaware of the fact that diabetes risk can be reduced to around 80 per cent by a few minor changes in lifestyle and eating habits. One of the examples of changes in diet involves consumption of kitchen-friendly spices.

Kitchen spices such as turmeric and cinnamon have multiple therapeutic properties, including the prevention and management of diabetes. They are easily available in the market and one can avail their benefits in the most conventional way i.e by adding them to foods during cooking. [1]

In this article, we will discuss some of the most common, yet powerful spices which can help prevent or manage diabetes. Take a look.


1. Cinnamon (Dalchini)

A study has shown that consumption of around 3-6 g of cinnamon can decrease the glucose levels within 30-40 days in healthy individuals. It was also effective in decreasing insulin sensitivity and fasting blood glucose. Therefore, cinnamon may help prevent the risk of diabetes as it affects blood glucose in a very short time. [2]

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2. Turmeric (Haldi)

Another great spice with the anti-diabetic effect is turmeric. Curcumin in turmeric is known to delay diabetes development along with improving the beta-cell functions and preventing their deaths and decreasing insulin resistance. The cardioprotective (heart) and nephroprotective (kidneys) effects of haldi may help prevent complications of diabetes. [3]


3. Jamaica pepper (Allspice)

This aromatic spice is actually dried unripe berries of a Caribbean tropical tree called Pimenta dioica. The berries have vital antioxidant compounds such as quercetin, gallic acid and other phytochemicals. These compounds may help prevent diabetes by reducing damage to the beta-cells of the pancreas caused due to oxidative stress. To mention, the pancreas is responsible for the production of insulin. [4]


4. Fenugreek (Methi)

A study has shown that fenugreek seeds may help reduce glucose levels in people with diabetes. It is considered as a nutraceutical with claims to reduce hyperglycemia. The study also mentions that fenugreek consumption for three years can lower the chances of diabetes in prediabetics from 55 to 23 per cent. [5]

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5. Cayenne pepper (Laal mirch)

Cayenne pepper or red chilli pepper contains an active compound called capsaicin. The compound is known to have anti-diabetic effect with the potential to lower pain and obesity, the major complications of diabetes. A study has shown that capsaicin can cause changes at a gene level and may help in the production and metabolism of insulin, a hormone that balances glucose levels. [6]


6. Mango powder (Amchoor)

A study has examined the effects of dried mango powder and found that it can positively reduce blood glucose, fasting blood glucose and hip circumference in obese people. To mention, obesity is related to many chronic diseases, with type 2 diabetes being on the top. [7]


7. Bay leaves (Tej patta)

Bay leaves are beneficial for the management of type 2 diabetes. A study suggests that consuming around 1-3 g of bay leaves per day can lower the complications of diabetes such as heart diseases. Bay leaves may also help improve antioxidant status, cell functions and lipid metabolism. [8]

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8. Cardamom (Elaichi)

Cardamom, a flavoursome spice can effectively improve glucose levels in healthy adults due to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and hypolipidemic properties. It may also help regulate energy, improve cell functions and stimulate pancreatic cells to release and utilise insulin properly. [9]


9. Cloves (Lavang)

The liver plays an important role in maintaining glucose levels by storing excess glucose. Dysfunction in the liver can result in impaired glucose homeostasis and type 2 diabetes. A study says that polyphenols such as gallic acid, catechin and quercetin in cloves help maintain the liver functions and convert the liver glycogen to glucose, thus managing diabetes to great extent. [10]


10. Oregano (Ajwain ki patti)

A study has shown that oregano contains a strong antioxidant called carvacrol that may cause a slight reduction in glucose level, along with a significant reduction in total body cholesterol. Oregano also shows a small protective effect on liver enzymes and can be helpful in managing diabetes up to a certain extent. [11]

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11. Cumin (Jeera)

According to a study, cumin seeds may help reduce blood glucose, triglyceride levels (body fat), leptin (a hormone that controls body weight) and oxidised LDL in diabetes patients. The decrease in all these factors is associated with improved insulin resistance and prevention of diabetes complications. [12]


12. Fennel (Saumph)

Fennel is packed with anti-diabetes compounds and is effectively used by pharma industries in the making of the anti-diabetes drug. Upon consumption, it may help improve liver and pancreas functions at a genetic level which can in turn, control glucose levels.


13. Curry leaves (Kadhi patta)

Curry leaves are widely consumed by diabetics all over India due to their anti-hyperglycemic effects. They may help reduce blood glucose levels along with serum total cholesterol and prevent the onset of diabetes complications in people with mild to moderate diabetes. [13]

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14. Mustard (Sarso)

Brown mustard seeds have potent anti-diabetic activity. A study has shown that when mustard seeds are administered in diabetic animals, it may help lower blood glucose levels in both short-term and long-term ranging from seven to 25 days. [14]

Story first published: Thursday, January 14, 2021, 10:30 [IST]