In 2015, it was estimated that 415 million people were living with diabetes. More grim is the fact that this number is expected to increase to 640 million by 2040. Dr Ruth Aceng, the Minister of Health says in Uganda, about 80 per cent of people living with diabetes are not aware that they have it.
This in itself poses various challenges both for the country as well as the sufferers. Despite these hiccups, a ray of hope has presented itself.
A new research has revealed that administering a combination of black, brown/red and white simsim in the diet of diabetic patients is key in reduction of blood glucose levels (Random Blood Sugar (RBS), Fasting Blood Sugar (FBS) and glycated haemoglobin level (HbA1c)). The results also reveal that when simsim varieties were used as substances that enhance the body’s immune response in patients with type two diabetes, there was a slight significant change in the body weight.
The new research that was carried out by Dr Alice Veronica Lamwaka of Gulu University involved case studies on 120 individuals, both male and female who were receiving treatment from Gulu Regional Referral Hospital and St Mary’s Hospital Lacor. This number was divided into eight sub groups. “Those in Group A1 were administered with three grammes of black simsim daily for 12 weeks; while Group A2 was administered with three grammes of black simsim for 12 weeks with combination of their medication therapy. Group B1 on the other hand was administered with three grammes of red simsim for 12 weeks; while B2 was administered with three grammes of red simsim for 12 weeks with combination of their medication therapy.
Group C1 got three grammes of white simsim for 12 weeks, while C2 was administered with three grammes of white simsim for 12 weeks with combination of their medication therapy.
D1 got three grammes of black, red and white simsim that were administered for 12 weeks; while D2 was administered with three grammes of black, red and white for 12 weeks with combination of their medication therapy.
Dr Lamwaka, in her findings noted that the levels proportionately reduced at 3, 6, 9 and 12 weeks respectively.
While presenting her findings recently at the Gulu University Main Hall, Dr Lamwaka, noted that these changes continued to be increasingly significant even when the patients were followed up to 24 weeks.
She explained that 43 patients of the 60 patients who were on combination therapy (diabetes medication), were weaned off medication although follow ups were made to prevent unexpected rebound.
She added that (simsim) seeds contain magnesium and other nutrients that have been shown to combat diabetes. She encouraged not only those who are diabetic to eat simsim daily in sizeable quantity but the aged and young to do so as well.
One of the diabetics, Dorine Lalam, 64, says she strongly believe that simsim has a curative effect in the body of those suffering from diabetes.
Lalam who suffers from Type Two diabetes, says in September last year, the doctor had told her that she would not live for long.
“I could not walk since my leg had started rotting but I am back on my feet and wounds are showing signs of healing,” she said.
She started using simsim in combination of medication on February 12, following recommendations from friends.
Different ways to consume simsim
Simsim can be used in different ways as follows:
It can be eaten raw or roasted.
Its paste can added to smoked meat, fish and some types of vegetables to make delicious soup. Some people prefer to apply the paste to bread instead of margarine.
Simsim seed balls made by mixing it with sugar is a favourite among children.
Bakers add simsim seeds to bread and the top of hamburgers to give them a rich nutty taste.
Extraction of oil out of the seeds
Other health benefits of simsim
Simsim enhances well-being because it is rich in a number of trace minerals and other food nutrients which translate into tremendous health benefits.
Simsim contains calcium, which helps build bones, enhance bone density and lower the risk of Osteoporosis
Eating Simsim has been proven to bring relief to people suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis, a Chronic joint disease that causes damage to joints in the body.
Simsim seeds are high in dietary fibre and add roughage to the intestines which improves bowel movements and helps prevent constipation.