Superfruits and plant compounds: Fat molecule in avocados may be key to reversing diabetes
15 June 2021
Researchers from the University of Guelph in Canada have discovered that a fat molecule unique to avocados may help treat diabetes. In a study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, the researchers found that avocatin B (AvoB) reduced insulin resistance in diabetic mice and promoted weight loss in humans.
Avocado compound improves insulin sensitivity
AvoB is a mixture of polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols found exclusively in avocados. Discovered just a few years ago, the compound has attracted the attention of researchers due to its anti-cancer properties, which stem from its ability to inhibit fatty acid oxidation (FAO) or the breakdown of fats. Cancer cells depend on FAO for their proliferation and survival.
But FAO is also implicated in the development of Type 2 diabetes. In diabetic and obese individuals, cells that produce insulin get damaged due to incomplete FAO in the mitochondria.
Because of this, the researchers wanted to examine the effect of the compound on glucose and fat metabolism. They fed mice a high-fat diet for eight weeks to induce obesity and insulin resistance and then added avoB to the diet of half the mice for the next 5 weeks. The AvoB-treated mice had increased insulin sensitivity and weighed less than the untreated mice.
The researchers also tested the effect of AvoB on humans to see if the compound is safe for use. They administered either 50 or 200 milligrams of AvoB supplements to participants who were on an average Western diet.
After two months, the researchers found no negative effects in the liver, muscles or kidneys and no indication of dose-dependent toxicity. The participants also lost weight, though the effect was not statistically significant. (Related: Avocado seed: a superfood for your health.)
The researchers noted, however, that eating avocados alone may not be enough for a person to experience AvoB’s health benefits. The amount of the compound varies from fruit to fruit and it remains unclear how well the body absorbs the compound. To address these, the researchers developed AvoB supplements that are available for purchase.
More nutritious superfoods to fight diabetes
The following superfoods help fight diabetes: (h/t to Healthline.com)
- Leafy greens – Vegetables like spinach and kale are low in calories and are packed with antioxidants that help protect against diabetes.
- Chia seeds – Research shows that the viscous fiber in chia seeds can lower blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of food.
- Beans – Beans have a low glycemic index, which is important for diabetes management.
- Yogurt – Studies link high yogurt consumption to lower blood sugar levels and reduced insulin resistance.
- Nuts – Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, pecans and other types of nuts are rich in fiber and low in carbohydrates.
- Broccoli – Research shows that broccoli helps lower blood sugar levels.
- Flaxseeds – A portion of flaxseeds’ insoluble fiber is made of lignans, which help improve blood sugar control and decrease heart disease risk.
Add avocado and these nutritious superfoods to your diet to maintain healthy blood sugar levels and prevent diabetes.
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Published on Foodscience.news