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Dasheen and Diabetes

Posted on May 31, 2015 | No Comments on Dasheen and Diabetes

Dasheen is a variety of taro which is used as vegetables for its several parts such as its corms (underground stems), leaves and leaf-stems. It is a perennial, tropical plant but is widely adaptable to a variety of climates such as in the arid regions of Africa. This type of taro is believed to have originated from South India and in Southeast Asia. Aside from its origin places, it is also very popular in other places of the world such as in Africa, the Carribean and in the Pacific. In the Philippines, it is locally called “gabi”.

This root crop has been a staple in the Carribean and in some parts of the Pacific until colonization took place and completely replaced it with western diets. This is speculated to have been the cause of the steady increase of diabetic cases in these places. It is currently held that Dasheen does have an effect in reducing diabetic levels. According to a study published in the West Indian Medical Journal, It was found out that rats fed with dasheen exhibited lower blood glucose levels compared to those who were under normal diet. This is due to the fact that Linamarin, a cyanoglucoside that is suspected to induce aggravation of diabetes, exists in dasheen in lower levels. Fascinatingly enough, the dasheen diet also effected a lowering of blood cholesterol which was not exhibit by rats fed with a normal diet.

Another study held that upon feeding dasheen to the rats, it maintained normal glycemic values compared to that of diabetic rats on normal diet. This is speculated to be due to the several metabolic alterations that is undergone by the rat upon exposure to the diet. These metabolic alterations include the lowering of the Activity of NADP + isocitrate dehydrogenase and the significant increase of Glucose 6-P dehydrogenase activity, both of which are important enzymes in the conversion of glucose to energy.

Aside from the potential of dasheen to help in the fight for diabetes, it is also deemed to be a rich source of vitamin and minerals such as vitamin A, Vitamin C, magnesium, copper and many more. Due to it being a root crop, it can also be a good source of fiber.

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