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Marie Benton, a Maori health researcher in New Zealand, has carried out a ten-year study of her tribe, comparing nine people who ate eel regularly and lived a traditional lifestyle with nine people who ate a more Western diet.
Of the first group, none developed type 2 diabetes and all are healthy; two of them are in their eighties. Everyone in the second group developed type 2 diabetes and seven of them died, mostly in their fifties and sixties. The only two surviving subjects are aged 42 and 50 years.
The study forms part of Mrs. Benton's doctorate, which investigates the explosion of previously unknown type 2 diabetes that occurred in the Maori population after the 1960s. She has found that the long-finned eels in the traditional diet contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, far more than in salmon and approximately the same as in sardines.
It is her conclusion that daily consumption of eel has been an important factor in the well-being of the first group, along with their active traditional lifestyle and consumption of fruit and vegetables.
Source: NZ Herald
Jun 10, 2007
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