Diabetes Self-Management Blog

Moms now have another reason to encourage the kids to eat their vegetables: A recent study has found that increased consumption of green leafy vegetables can significantly reduce a person’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Roughly 24 million people in the US have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, and another 57 million are living with prediabetes.

A high intake of fruit and vegetables is known to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and certain types of cancer. To determine how a diet high in these foods affects the risk of Type 2 diabetes, researchers at the University of Leicester, in the United Kingdom, reviewed six studies that included more than 220,000 participants ranging in age from 30 to 74. The studies all lasted between 4.6 and 23 years.

The data showed that eating 1.35 servings of green leafy vegetables per day was associated with a 14% reduction in the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes compared with consuming only 0.2 servings daily. (A serving size is 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables or a 1/2 cup of cooked or raw nonleafy vegetables.) Eating more fruits and vegetables in general also appeared to have a beneficial effect on diabetes risk, but it was not statistically significant.

The researchers suggested several possible reasons fruit and vegetables might reduce the risk of disease, including their antioxidant content and, in the case of green leafy vegetables, their magnesium content. The scientists also noted that these benefits are likely associated with foods, rather than dietary supplements. In an editorial accompanying the study, Jim Mann, PhD, and Dagfinn Aune, BSc, stated, “Although some studies have shown associations between individual vegetables and fruits and coronary heart disease, stroke, and some cancers (for example, allium [onion family] vegetables and stomach and colorectal cancer, tomatoes and prostate cancer), most current recommendations focus on food groups as a whole rather than magic bullets.” The researchers suggest that further study into the effects of green leafy vegetables on diabetes is warranted.

Whether or not green leafy vegetables ultimately prove to be effective in reducing diabetes risk, there are still plenty of reasons to incorporate these nutritional powerhouses into your diet, including their high vitamin and mineral levels, their low carbohydrate content, and their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

To learn more about the research, read the article “Green Leafy Vegetables Reduce Diabetes Risk, Study Finds” or see the study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

And for some tasty ways to get your share of green leafy vegetables, check out these recipes:

Country-style collard greens
Savory spinach scramble
Seasoned collard greens


  1. There are no comments at this time.

Post a Comment

Note: All comments are moderated and there may be a delay in the publication of your comment. Please be on-topic and appropriate. Do not disclose personal information. Be respectful of other posters. Only post information that is correct and true to your knowledge. When referencing information that is not based on personal experience, please provide links to your sources. All commenters are considered to be nonmedical professionals unless explicitly stated otherwise. Promotion of your own or someone else's business or competing site is not allowed: Sharing links to sites that are relevant to the topic at hand is permitted, but advertising is not. Once submitted, comments cannot be modified or deleted by their authors. Comments that don't follow the guidelines above may be deleted without warning. Such actions are at the sole discretion of DiabetesSelfManagement.com. Comments are moderated Monday through Friday by the editors of DiabetesSelfManagement.com. The moderators are employees of R.A. Rapaport Publishing, Inc., and do not report any conflicts of interest. A privacy policy setting forth our policies regarding the collection, use, and disclosure of certain information relating to you and your use of this Web site can be found here. For more information, please read our Terms and Conditions.

Type 2 Diabetes
FDA Approves Weekly Type 2 Diabetes Medicine (04/18/14)
Study on Factors Influencing Type 2 Management (04/15/14)
What's Your Diabetes "Type"? Gestational, MODY, and Steroid-Induced (04/15/14)
Overweight People With Type 2 May Benefit From Gastric Banding (04/11/14)

Nutrition & Meal Planning
Google Nutrition Comparison Tool (04/01/14)
Six Fish Facts to Know Now (03/11/14)
Eating Disorders and Diabetes: What's the Connection? (02/24/14)
Soy and Diabetes: Good, Bad, or What? (02/12/14)

Diabetes Research
Overweight People With Type 2 May Benefit From Gastric Banding (04/11/14)
Good News About Good Diabetes Self-Management (03/28/14)
Diabetes Developed at Midlife May Affect Brain Function in Old Age (03/21/14)
Many Americans Taking Meds That Work Against Each Other (03/14/14)

Diabetes News
FDA Approves Weekly Type 2 Diabetes Medicine (04/18/14)
Overweight People With Type 2 May Benefit From Gastric Banding (04/11/14)
FDA Panel Votes in Favor of Inhalable Insulin; Diet Drug Recalled (04/09/14)
Good News About Good Diabetes Self-Management (03/28/14)

Diane Fennell
FDA Approves Weekly Type 2 Diabetes Medicine (04/18/14)
Overweight People With Type 2 May Benefit From Gastric Banding (04/11/14)
FDA Panel Votes in Favor of Inhalable Insulin; Diet Drug Recalled (04/09/14)
Good News About Good Diabetes Self-Management (03/28/14)



Disclaimer of Medical Advice: You understand that the blog posts and comments to such blog posts (whether posted by us, our agents or bloggers, or by users) do not constitute medical advice or recommendation of any kind, and you should not rely on any information contained in such posts or comments to replace consultations with your qualified health care professionals to meet your individual needs. The opinions and other information contained in the blog posts and comments do not reflect the opinions or positions of the Site Proprietor.

Carbohydrate Restriction: An Option for Diabetes Management
Some people find that decreasing the amount of carbohydrate they eat can help with blood glucose control. Here’s what to know about this approach.

Insulin Patch Pumps: A New Tool for Type 2
Patch pumps are simpler to operate than traditional insulin pumps and may be a good option for some people with Type 2 diabetes who need insulin.

How Much Do You Know About Vitamins?
Learn what these micronutrients can and can’t do for you.

Complete table of contents
Subscription questions