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Originally published April 7 2010

Expectant mothers reduce diabetes risk in newborns by eating more vegetables

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Women who eat more vegetables while pregnant significantly reduce their children's risk of developing Type 1 diabetes, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Gothenburg and Linkoping University in Sweden, and published in the journal Pediatric Diabetes.

"This is the first study to show a link between vegetable intake during pregnancy and the risk of the child subsequently developing Type 1 diabetes," researcher Hilde Brekke said. "Nor can this protection be explained by other measured dietary factors or other known risk factors."

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that develops when the immune system produces antibodies that attack the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Researchers tested the blood of 6,000 five-year-old children for these antibodies, and compared the results to their mothers' self-reported vegetable intakes during pregnancy.

For the purposes of the study, "vegetables" excluded root vegetables such as potatoes, beets and carrots.

They found children whose mothers had eaten vegetables only three to five times a week while pregnant were 70 percent more likely to have elevated antibody levels than children whose mothers ate vegetables every day. This effect remained after researchers adjusted for other Type 1 diabetes risk factors, such as mother's education level.

"The most frequently consumed vegetables in Sweden during 1996 to 1999 when ABIS pregnancy data were collected were tomatoes, cabbage, onions, lettuce and cucumbers," the researchers said.

A diet high in vegetables has been linked to overall better health and a lower risk of a wide variety of diseases. Some specific components of vegetables, such as vitamin C and vitamin E, have been shown to reduce the risk of Type 1 diabetes.

"Recently, flavonoids, the powerful antioxidants, have been suggested to be potentially therapeutic agents for Ttype 1 diabetes," the researchers said.

An estimated one million people in the United States suffer from Type 1 diabetes, with 13,000 new cases diagnosed in children every year.

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