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Diabetes Prevention? Try a Little Chocolate, Tea and Berries

First Posted: Jan 19, 2014 09:47 PM EST
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A recent study shows how tea, berries and chocolate could all help in the prevention of Type 2 Diabetes due to the high levels of flavonoids.

Based on a study of almost 2,000 people, researchers found that these food groups also help to lower inflammation and insulin resistance.

Professor Aedin Cassidy of the University of Anglia (UEA)'s Norwich Medical School, discusses the study, courtesy of a press release. "Our research looked at the benefits of eating certain sub-groups of flavonoids. We focused on flavones, which are found in herbs and vegetables such as parsley, thyme, and celery, and anthocyanins, found in berries, red grapes, wine and other red or blue-coloured fruits and vegetables.

"This is one of the first large-scale human studies to look at how these powerful bioactive compounds might reduce the risk of diabetes. Laboratory studies have shown these types of foods might modulate blood glucose regulation - affecting the risk of type 2 diabetes. But until now little has been know about how habitual intakes might affect insulin resistance, blood glucose regulation and inflammation in humans."

For the study, researchers examined close to 2,000 healthy women volunteers from Twins, U.K. who had completed a food questionnaire that estimated their total dietary flavonoid intake as well as six flavonoid subclasses. Blood samples from participants showed evidence of both glucose regulation and inflammation. They also assessed fasting insulin and glucose levels via an equation.

"We found that those who consumed plenty of anthocyanins and flavones had lower insulin resistance. High insulin resistance is associated with Type 2 diabetes, so what we are seeing is that people who eat foods rich in these two compounds - such as berries, herbs, red grapes, wine- are less likely to develop the disease.

"We also found that those who ate the most anthocyanins were least likely to suffer chronic inflammation - which is associated with many of today's most pressing health concerns including diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

"And those who consumed the most flavone compounds had improved levels of a protein (adiponectin) which helps regulate a number of metabolic processes including glucose levels."

However, the researchers note that further studies will be needed to potentially determine how the compounds directly lower the risk.

More information regarding the study can be found via the Journal of Nutrition

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