Childhood obesity and its comorbidities continue to accelerate across the globe. Two-thirds of pregnant women are obese/overweight, as are 20% of preschoolers. Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is escalating, affecting up to 1 in 5 pregnant women. The field of developmental origins of health and disease has begun to move beyond associations to potential causal mechanisms for developmental programming. Evidence across species compellingly demonstrates that maternal obesity, diabetes, and Western-style diets create a long-lasting signature on multiple systems, including infant stem cells, the early immune system, and gut microbiota. Such exposures accelerate adipogenesis, disrupt mitochondrial metabolism, and impair energy sensing, affecting neurodevelopment, liver, pancreas, and skeletal muscle. Attempts to prevent developmental programming have met with very limited success. A challenging level of complexity is involved in how the host genome, metabolome, and microbiome throughout pregnancy and lactation increase the offspring’s risk of metabolic diseases across the life span. Considerable gaps in knowledge include the timing of exposure(s) and permanence or plasticity of the response, encompassing effects from both maternal and paternal dysmetabolism. Basic, translational, and human intervention studies targeting pathways that connect diet, microbiota, and metabolism in mothers with obesity/GDM and their infants are a critical unmet need and present new challenges for disease prevention in the next generation.
Hyperinsulinemia is the hallmark of insulin resistance in obesity, and the relative importance of insulin clearance, insulin resistance, and insulin hypersecretion has been widely debated. On the basis of recent experimental evidence, we summarize existing evidence to suggest hepatic insulin clearance as a major and immediate regulator of systemic insulin concentrations responding within days to altered dietary energy and, in particular, carbohydrate intake. Hepatic insulin clearance seems to be closely associated with opposite alterations in hepatic lipid content and glucose production, providing a potential mechanistic link to hepatic insulin sensitivity. The molecular regulation of insulin clearance in the liver is likely to involve changes in insulin binding and receptor internalization in response to the dietary alterations, the molecular mechanisms of which await further research.
In 1550 BC, the famous Ebers Papyrus advised treating diabetes with high fiber wheat grains. Not much has changed since then. Plant foods are the drug of choice for treating diabetes. There are large numbers of scientific research findings to confirm the effectiveness of plant foods in managing this disease. Through the centuries, more than 400 plants have been identified, used, and prescribed as diabetic remedies.
Raw onions and garlic have been long been favorite anti-diabetic drugs in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The vegetable bitter gourd and the herb ginseng have been widely used for treating diabetes since the ancient time in India and China. Common mushroom is widely used in parts of Europe to lower blood sugar. Barely bread is a popular treatment for diabetes in Iraq. Other foods, used in different countries, in the treatment of diabetes include beans, cabbage, cinnamon, coriander seeds, cucumber, fenugreek seeds, Indian gooseberry and lettuce.
All these foods have anti-diabetic properties. Scientific research has confirmed that most of these foods, or their compounds, either lower blood sugar, or stimulate insulin production. Some of the more important foods that help to lower blood sugar or stimulate insulin production in diabetes patients are discussed here.
Artichoke is a tuberous root with a top like a sunflower. This vegetable contains good amounts of potassium, a fair amount of calcium and some iron and sulphur, all of which are needed by the body for maintaining good health.
Artichoke is beneficial in the treatment of diabetes because of its high insulin content. A fully ripe artichoke is said to contain more than two percent of insulin. Ripe artichokes are generally available only during autumn or fall. The insulin is converted into sugar in winter. Artichokes are most effective when eaten raw in salads. It cooking is required; they should be boiled, unpeeled, in a small quantity of water for about 10 minutes. Artichokes can be effectively combined with other vegetables.
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