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Chocolate, Tea and Berries Could Prevent Diabetes

Update Date: Jan 20, 2014 09:42 AM EST
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Not all foods are made the same. According to a new study, natural ingredients found in chocolate, tea and berries could prevent chronic illness, type 2 diabetes. The researchers of this new study from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Kings College London reported that consuming high levels of flavonoids, which includes anthocyanins, can lower people's insulin resistance and promote better blood glucose regulation.

"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-colored fruits and vegetables," commented lead researcher, Professor Aedin Cassidy from UEA's Norwich Medical School, according to the press release.

For this study, the researchers examined nearly 2,000 healthy volunteers who were a part of TwinsUK. The participants were all females and had answered a food questionnaire that collected data on dietary flavonoid intake, which also included the consumption of six flavonoid subclasses. The researchers analyzed glucose regulation and inflammation via blood samples. They measured insulin resistance via an equation that took fasting insulin and glucose levels into account.

"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," Cassidy reported. "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."

She added, "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."

The researchers are unsure whether or not eating foods rich with flavonoids and anthocyanins directly reduces one's risk of type 2 diabetes. The study, "Intakes of Anthocyanins and Flavones Are Associated with Biomarkers of Insulin Resistance and Inflammation in Women," was published in the Journal of Nutrition.

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