Diabetes: An orange a day makes the difference

By Gabriel Blessing on 05/12/2014

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For any one suffering from diabetes, an orange a day can make a whole lot of difference. This statement may sound unbelievable, but it is true.

Diabetes mellitus is a disease caused by deficiency or diminished effectiveness of endogenous insulin. Insulin is a hormone synthesised and secreted by the beta-cells of the islet langerhans of the pancreas which controls the level of glucose in the blood.

Usually, after taking in a carbohydrate meal, the body enzymes metabolise (break down) the nutrient to produce glucose as the end product. At the presence of glucose in the system, the brain triggers the pancreas to produce insulin. For diabetic individuals, this action becomes a problem.

Why?

This is because, the pancreas is either faulty and can't produce insulin or that the insulin produced is ineffective. So, the glucose in the body will not be well regulated.

The good news is that, one Sweet orange a day can do the magic. It cannot cure diabetes though, but can prevent and control diabetes. Sweet oranges are powerhouses of nutrition and can help people suffering from many different conditions. It is no doubt that fruits play great role in human health but out of all known fruits, sweet orange has exceptional nutritional value which is second to none. Some components of sweet orange include;

Dietary fiber - pectin; which are very effective in persons with excess weight. Of course, obesity is associated with diabetes. By its action as a bulk laxative, pectin helps to protect the mucous membrane of the colon by decreasing its exposure time to toxic substances as well as by binding to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon. Pectin has also been shown to reduce blood cholesterol by decreasing its reabsorption in the colon, which it does by binding to bile acids in the colon. These action decreases risk of hypertension- which has been implicated as a risk factor of diabetes.

B-complex vitamins- sweet orange contains B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, pyridoxine and folates. These are essential vitamins required for replenishing body tissue; Muscle loss is common for diabetic persons.

Minerals- Sweet orange contains a very good amount of minerals like potassium and calcium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that help to control heart rate blood pressure through countering sodium action. On the other hand, calcium is needed for bone formation. If you must avoid osteoporosis, take sweet orange.

Sweet orange, like any fruit from the citrus family, is very rich in vitamin C. It contains up to 116% of your daily requirement for vitamin C. It is also rich in phytonutrients like flavanones which are antioxidants. One particular flavanone called hesperetin is also known to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.

Having mentioned some of the nutritional components of sweet orange, we shall see how they help in preventing and controlling diabetes.

Diabetics usually have high blood glucose levels. This condition results to the production of reactive oxygen specie by biochemical processes such as Oxidative phosphorylation. Production of reactive specie leads to elevation of free radicals, and increase in free radicals result to oxidative stress which is key in the destruction and dysfunction of the beta cell (producer of insulin).

Oxidative stress persists when there is little or no antioxidants and also when enzymatic antioxidants are inhibited.

Sweet orange contain non enzymatic antioxidants which counter the effect of free radicals. Research has also shown that the concentration of enzymatic antioxidants such as Catalase, Glutathione peroxidase, significantly increases in diabetics who constantly take sweet orange. With the increase in concentration of these enzymatic antioxidants, oxidative stress is reduced. This is because these enzymes scavenge the free radicals, converts them to useful substances like water (through a biochemical process).

It might interest you to know that eating sweet orange is always a better alternative than just drinking fruit juice, especially for diabetics, as eating the whole fruit will also give you fiber and more nutrition as opposed to just drinking the juice. Again, Oranges are great fruits that can be included in a regular diet for diabetes because they are not very high in natural sugar and yet high in fiber and other minerals. Oranges are also categorized as low-glycemic food or food that slowly releases glucose into the blood.

More so, calcium and potassium are nutrients the body requires in large quantity for proper growth. In the biological system, both potassium and calcium are essential components of intracellular processes that occur within insulin responsive tissues like skeletal muscle and adipose tissue. A very narrow range of calcium concentration is needed for optimal insulin mediated functioning; In otherwords, calcium deficiency affects secretion of insulin because it mediates the secretion of hormones (insulin). Concentration levels that are out of this optimal range may contribute to peripheral insulin resistance. In addition to calcium, Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D) plays an important role in maintaining the right levels of calcium concentration within these tissues and like we know, sunlight appears to be the major source. Vitamin D plays an important role in the absorption of calcium by the body. Low levels of this vitamin reduce the body’s ability to absorb calcium from food. The body then turns to the skeletal system for its calcium requirements, thereby weakening the bone. Hence, foreffective absorption of calcium, ensure you take in enough Cholecaciferol. Other sources of cholecalciferol include; fish, egg yolk and milk.

Also note that one fresh sweet orange contain 52mg of calcium and the RDA ( ) of calcium is 200mg/day for infants and 1000mg/day for adults. For adults over the age of 50, the recommended dose is 1200mg/day. The RDA of vitamin D is 400IU/day for adults between 50 and 70 and 600IU/day for adults over 70.

Now, think of 52mg of calcium just by taking one fresh sweet orange in addition to the milligrams you might get from other food substances. Your guess is as good as mine! Of course, I know you might want to increase the number of oranges you take but ensure it does not exceed the recommended dose.

Like I mentioned earlier, sweet orange contain Pectin, a water-soluble dietary fiber. Pectin has thickening properties in the digestive system -- which may help delay carbohydrate digestion and glucose absorption and improve symptoms of diabetes. The thickening properties of pectin in the small intestine and subsequent breakdown in the large intestine may be at least partly responsible for pectin’s cholesterol-lowering effects. Pectin can lower intestinal absorption of cholesterol and bile acids. Bile acids are made from cholesterol in the liver, and increased bile acid and cholesterol elimination with the stool can lower blood cholesterol.

Normally in diabetes mellitus, as a result of deficiency or malfunctioning of Insulin, Acetyl CoA - a product formed from free fatty acid metabolism, is channelled to cholesterol synthesis. This action therefore, increases the level of blood cholesterol. This increase predominantly affects the Aorta, Coronary arteries and cerebral vessels. This is a chronic case!

You can now see that Pectin - a component of sweet orange can save you a whole lot!

Diabetics also develop Cataract. The Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) in sweet orange helps to combat it. This is because vitamin C is concentrated in the lens of eye. Hence, regular intake of sweet orange supplies the body with Ascorbic acid. Be informed that vitamin C is a non enzymatic antioxidant, hence it performs antioxidative functions too!

So,

If you want to control your diabetes, get SWEET ORANGE!

If you want to stay away from diabetes, get SWEET ORANGE!

 

Posted on December, 6 2014

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