Grandma’s recipes may not be wrong after all. New scientific evidence suggests that some vegetables help in keeping diabetes at bay.

In studies carried out by researchers from CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), the juices of 13 commonly available vegetables were found to be inhibiting the activity of an enzyme associated with development of type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity.

Ashok Kumar Tiwari, principal scientist and his group carried out the research whose findings were published recently in ‘Pharmacologia’, an international scientific journal of Science Reuters, U.K.

Talking to The Hindu, Dr. Tiwari said the phenomenon of insulin resistance was generally more in South Asians than other ethnic groups. As a result, although South Asians secrete more insulin than others, glucose uptake by tissues was less and it remains in the blood causing hyperglycaemia.

He said the juices of the 13 vegetables were evaluated separately in vitro and it was found that they displayed varying levels of anti-insulin resistance properties.

Among them, radish was the most potent vegetable, followed by bottle gourd in down-regulating or inhibiting the activity of enzyme—Protein-Tyrosine Phosphatase 1 beta which plays a role in increasing insulin resistance and decreasing insulin sensitivity.

Green cucumber, ash gourd, yellow pumpkin, snake gourd, Chayote (cho cho), ridge gourd, ivy gourd, carrot, knol khol, banana stem and yellow cucumber were the other vegetables that had varyingly down-regulated the activity of the enzyme.

Potent natural source

The researchers in the concluding remarks of the published paper said: “This research provides evidence that vegetables are potent natural source of PTP 1 beta inhibition and may become cost effective therapeutics in correcting metabolic disturbances of type 2 diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disorders. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report identifying PTP 1beta inhibitory potential in raw vegetables juice.”

Dr. Tiwari said another in vivo study carried out in animals too showed that the juices of ash gourd and chayote have the potential to reduce blood sugar, oxidative stress and platelet activity and could help in preventing cardiovascular disorders.

While underscoring the importance of proper diet for healthy living, he advised against consuming bitter-tasting vegetables and cautioned that arbitrary use of vegetables could also turn toxic and dangerous.