London : A compound found in chocolate and red wine may guard people against the risk of diabetes, a new study suggests. Eating high levels of flavonoids including anthocyanins and other compounds – found in berries, tea, and chocolate – could offer protection from type 2 diabetes – according to research from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and King’s College London, reports PTI.
The findings reveal that high intakes of these dietary compounds are associated with lower insulin resistance and better blood glucose regulation. The study of almost 2,000 people also found that these food groups lower inflammation which, when chronic, is associated with diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
“Our research looked at the benefits of eating certain sub-groups of flavanoids. 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,” said Professor Aedin Cassidy from UEA’s Norwich Medical School.
“This is one of the first large-scale human studies to look at how these powerful bio-active 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,” said Cassidy, who led the research. “But until now little has been know about how habitual intakes might affect insulin resistance, blood glucose regulation and inflammation in humans,” Cassidy said.
Researchers studied almost 2,000 healthy women volunteers from TwinsUK who had completed a food questionnaire designed to estimate total dietary flavonoid intake as well as intakes from six flavonoid subclasses. Blood samples were analysed for evidence of both glucose regulation and inflammation.
Insulin resistance, a hallmark of type 2 diabetes, 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, wine – are less likely to develop the disease,” Cassidy said.
“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,” Cassidy added.