LONDONChocolate and wine lovers have another reason to celebrate. A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition found eating high levels of flavonoids, including anthocyanins, and other compounds found naturally in berries, red wine and chocolate may help ward off the onset of type 2 diabetes.
The findings suggest high intakes of the dietary compounds are associated with lower insulin resistance and better blood glucose regulation. The researchers also found that those specific food groups lower inflammation associated with diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and King's College London investigated the benefits of eating certain sub-groups of flavanoids. They 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.
For the study, researchers studied almost 2,000 healthy women volunteers from Twins, UK, who had completed a food questionnaire designed to estimate total dietary flavonoid intake as well as intakes from six flavonoid subclasses. Blood samples were analyzed for evidence of both glucose regulation and inflammation. Insulin resistance was assessed using an equation that considered both fasting insulin and glucose levels.
"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 and wine, are less likely to develop the disease," said lead researcher Aedin Cassidy from UEAs Norwich Medical School.
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."
The researchers also found those who consumed the most flavone compounds had improved levels of the protein adiponectin that helps regulate a number of metabolic processes including glucose levels.