What can be done against the damage of hypertension, hyperglycemia, high cholesterol and visceral fat? Eating, even if it seems like an advice opposite to what one might expect. But eating a healthy and balanced diet that includes certain foods that have been found to be particularly beneficial for health, such as blackcurrants and beetroot. This is what emerges from a recent research published in the journal Metabolites by a team from New Zealand (Haswell et al, Metabolites, 2021).
What is metabolic syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a condition in which three or more of the following factors occur, such as high cholesterol and triglyceride values, low levels of good HDL cholesterol, accumulation of visceral fat, hypertension and resistance to insulin. If untreated, metabolic syndrome can lead to diabetes and cardiovascular problems in the long run. The good news is that proper nutrition can mitigate if not reverse the conditions that cause metabolic syndrome, reducing the health risk.
The role of diet in case of metabolic syndrome
In case of metabolic syndrome, foods rich in anthocyanins, which are antioxidants of the flavonoid class capable of protecting the heart, have been particularly beneficial. Not only that, foods containing nitrates are also helpful as they help control blood sugar levels, and therefore the risk of developing diabetes, but they also help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.
Blackcurrant and waistline, blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol
Anthocyanins are present in several fruits. However, blackcurrants are particularly rich in this precious substance, not only in the whole fruit but also in the juice that is obtained. Drinking blackcurrant juice has been shown to lower blood sugar levels, even following carbohydrate-rich meals. In fact, this drink is able to reduce the glycemic peak following a meal by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates. Not only that, blackcurrant juice is also able to reduce blood pressure, both systolic and diastolic, already after a week of intake, it reduces the values of triglycerides and bad cholesterol while increasing the values of good cholesterol or HDL. Finally, blackcurrant also made it possible to reduce body weight and waist circumference by decreasing visceral fat.
Beetroot and its action on blood pressure and blood sugar
Nitrates are found in green leafy vegetables but especially in beetroot. Nitrates are converted into nitric oxide, which plays an essential role in regulating vascular tone, blood pressure and blood glucose values. Not only that, the beetroot also contains other beneficial substances, such as betalain, which is a powerful antioxidant with a function similar to anthocyanins, carotenoids, ascorbic acid and flavonoids, which help reduce the risk of chronic diseases and counteract the attack of free radicals. Therefore, green light to beetroot, even in the form of juice and added to smoothies! In fact, beetroot juice, although it does not contain the fibers that are found in the whole vegetable, which also have a role in improving blood sugar, is still almost more beneficial than cooked beetroot, as it is generally consumed. In fact, the juice does not require the cooking of the beetroot which instead would alter the betalain contained.