Capsicum for controlling diabetes, obesity
Scientists analysed green, yellow and red bell peppers and found encouraging results.
As growing incidence of lifestyle-induced ‘Diabesity’ continues to pose a major challenge for health experts and affected individuals alike, here is some good news on diet-based management of diabetes and obesity.
Scientists at the CSIR- Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) have analysed green, yellow and red bell peppers for their anti-hyperglycaemic and anti-hyperlipidemic effect and found encouraging results.
In particular, they studied the impact of the bell peppers, popularly known as capsicum, on nutrition digestive enzymes—carbohydrate cleaving enzyme alpha- glucosidase and lipid-slicing enzyme pancreatic lipase. Normally, carbohydrates are broken down into disaccharides and ultimately into glucose by the activity of alpha -glucosidase enzyme present in the intestinal wall while pancreatic lipase converts lipid into fatty acids.
Interestingly, the scientists found that yellow and red bell peppers slowed down digestion of carbohydrates and lipids. The research work was published recently online in Natural Products Research.
It was found that yellow capsicum significantly inhibited the activity of alpha- glucosidase and lipase enzyme as compared to green capsicum. The inhibition was almost double than that of green capsicum, said lead author and Senior Principal Scientist, Dr. Ashok Kumar Tiwari.
He said that once the digestion of carbohydrates and lipids get slow down, the concentration of glucose and lipids in the blood would be less and as a result the chances of developing hyperglycaemia and hyperlipidemia would be reduced.
Yellow capsicum would naturally be a better option than green capsicum, he added.
As regards red capsicum, it was found that lipase inhibiting activity was equivalent to that of yellow capsicum, but the inhibition of glucosidase was almost on par with green capsicum.
Dr. Tiwari said yellow and red capsicums were more effective than green capsicum due to the presence of oligomerised anthocyanins. They were better inhibitors than pro-anthocyanins found in green capsicum.
He suggested eating yellow and red capsicum in raw form as salad before the main course.
Pointing out that hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia induce oxidative stress, he said yellow and red capsicums possess better anti-oxidative activity than green variety. Oxidative stress gives raise to free radicals which damage biomolecules and has been implicated in many diseases, including diabetic complications, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.