Nopal, or cactus, consumption reduces the risk of diabetes complications, has no side effects, and is inexpensive, reported Ph.D. in Basic Biomedical Research of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
The nopal has an antihyperglycemic effect that prevents the elevation of glucose, helping the pancreas to not overproduce insulin and thus reducing the risk of diabetes and diabetic complications, detailed the researcher at the National Institute of Medical Sciences.
In an interview with the news agency of the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT), the specialist said that frequent consumption of foods like prickly pear, soy and chia are helpful in fighting diabetes.
“Regularly consuming these foods can also decrease postprandial glucose peaks and control the disease,” he added.
The doctor explained that the nopal has a lot of fiber, so it is considered a prebiotic food and does not digest the enzymes of the human genome, but can be fermented by microorganisms in the gut to modify the microbiota.
Therefore, he said nopales should not be cooked for more than 10 minutes because they can lose their health benefits.
How to cook nopal?
Prepare the cactus pads by scraping off the cactus spines, rinsing the cactus and then cutting it into strips or dice.
Heat 2 tbsp. of oil in a skillet and add the nopalitos. Add 1/2 cup of diced onion. Saute the mixture, stirring frequently, over medium heat. Like okra, nopalitos have a viscous texture, and cooking removes the liquid that causes that. After the nopalitos have exuded their liquid and it has evaporated, they are ready to use.
Season the sauteed nopalitos with salt and pepper, and dress them with lime juice and olive oil. Serve as a side dish or garnish, or incorporate into other recipes. For scrambled eggs, add some sauteed onions and peppers to the nopalitos and pour beaten eggs over the mixture. Scramble the eggs as usual.
This seven-year-old boy's life was saved by his diabetes-sniffing dog
When a 7-year-old boy with type 1 diabetes had a sudden drop in blood sugar, his dog, Jedi, knew right away and acted fast to save the child's life.
Luke Nuttall was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was just two-years-old.
His mother Dorrie has to check his blood sugar levels up to ten times a day, even during the night when her son is sleeping.
The family brought in Jedi, a black Labrador 'diabetes dog' to help them. The dog monitors Luke's blood sugar level by smell, and alerts other members of the family when it becomes too high or too low.
On one particular night, Jedi jumped on and off the bed in an attempt to wake Dorrie who was fast asleep.
"No alarms were going off, no one was checking blood, no one was thinking about diabetes," she wrote on Facebook.
Dorrie checked Luke's Dexcom device, used to monitor his blood glucose levels without a finger prick. She saw that it reported his glucose level at 100, a stable number, and attempted to return to sleep.
However, Jedi continued to attempt to wake her up and ignored her attempts to push him off the bed - that's when Dorrie knew that something must be wrong.
In the four years that Luke has had diabetes he has never woken up on his own to notice how low his blood sugar levels have dropped - which is why he relies on his parents to wake him up and for Jedi's alerts, which often become before his monitor's.
On her Facebook page, Dorrie wrote: "So she pricked his finger and found out that his blood sugar was low - and likely dropping fast. Luke has never woken up on his own when his blood sugar drops, so his mom and his dog are his two safeguards.
"Luke was laying right next to me, just inches from me, and without Jedi I would have had no idea that he was dropping out of a safe range. His CGM would have caught up and alerted in the next 20 minutes or so and I had an alarm set for an hour from then to get up and check, but Jedi's early alerts help us prevent dangerous situations."
The Nuttall family, from Los Angeles, California, have been training Jedi since he was just an 11-month-old puppy to recognise the change in Luke's blood sugar. The dog can smell the chemical compounds in the little boy's blood changes from as far as across a playground, according to Dorrie.
The clever dog was trained to bring a stick to alert Luke’s parents, to wave a paw if his blood sugar is too high, or to bow if it’s too low.
Complications that arise as a result of hypoglycemia, the deficiency of glucose in the blood stream, can be fatal and Jedi's alerts are live-saving.
"It's in those moments when our guards are down, when we are just living life, when we let our minds drift from diabetes, that [the disease] has the upper hand and things can get scary very fast," Mrs Nuttall wrote in her Facebook post. "But thankfully we have Jedi."
Could a common blood pressure drug reverse diabetes?
Tuesday, March 8th 2016, 7:52 pm EDTTuesday, March 8th 2016, 11:38 pm EDT
By Karen Abernathy
An old drug used to treat high blood pressure may soon have a new use in fighting diabetes. Researchers at UAB Birmingham are hoping the high blood pressure medication Verapamil works as well in humans as it did in mice, by completely reversing diabetes.
Ryan Teague, 26, knows how important it is to stay on top of his diabetes. He's a registered nurse who has lived with the disease since he was diagnosed with type one diabetes when he was only 11-months-old. In addition to regular visits to see a specialist at the Diabetes Center in Ocean Springs, Teague has his own daily routine.
"My day consists of waking up in the morning and checking my blood sugar and acting off of those results throughout the day," Teague said.
But that constant care could become a thing of the past if a new study pans out.
Adult Nurse Practitioner and diabetes specialist KC Arnold takes care of Teague and other diabetes patients on the coast. She's watching the study closely.
"This is hopeful. It has worked in mice and now the human trials are going on, so we just have to wait for the outcome of that," Arnold said.
According to Arnold, the promising clinical trial at UAB is now in phase two.
"This trial will prove or disprove whether taking this medication will produce more insulin."
The keys to the groundbreaking approach are beta cells, which researchers say are critical in type one and type two diabetes. In animal studies, Verapamil lowers levels of a protein called TXNIP in those beta cells.
"When the blood sugar goes up, this protein goes up," Arnold explained. "What Verapamil does is it lowers the TXNIP in the body in the pancreas, and by lowering that protein the pancreatic cells don't get destroyed."
If the results of the UAB Verapamil trial are favorable, Arnold said a bigger trial will follow. And patients like Teague and countless others could one day be free of diabetes.
Teague said it's hard to imagine life without diabetes, but he's encouraged by the study.
"It's exciting. I'm looking forward to it. I'll be watching the research."
The results from this trial should be complete a little over a year from now. If you'd like to learn more about the details of this trial and others, go to https://clinicaltrials.gov/
Diabetes is now the seventh leading cause of death in the US, affecting more than 12 percent of Americans.