Avoiding Diabetes Enhanced by Consuming Berries,
Tea, Wine and Chocolate
Nearly 27 percent of senior citizens age 65 or older
already have type 2 diabetes
Jan. 20, 2014 Diabetes is a common worry for most
seniors, who will welcome the news that eating more berries, tea, wine
and chocolate may offer protection from type 2 diabetes. These foods
contain high levels of flavonoids, including anthocyanins - water
soluble pigments found in many plants - that new research suggests will
ward off the disease.
These findings published today in the Journal of
Nutrition reveal that high intakes of these dietary compounds are
associated with lower insulin resistance and better blood glucose
People can get diabetes at any age, but the risk
increases as we get older. In 2011, almost 11 million older adults
living in the U.S., including nearly 27 percent of seniors 65 or older,
The study from the University of East Anglia (UEA)
and King's College London 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.
Three antioxidants - resveratrol, genistein and baicalein - are used or studied as anti-aging treatments and to treat
heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteopenia and osteoporosis and chronic hepatitis; resveratrol found in red wine is in 44 clinical trials as
potential treatment for even Alzheimers disease - March 20, 2012
"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-colored fruits and vegetables, says Prof Aedin Cassidy from UEA's
Norwich Medical School, who led the research.
"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."
What is Diabetes?
Too Much Glucose in the Blood
Diabetes means your blood glucose (often called blood sugar) is
too high. Your blood always has some glucose in it because your
body needs glucose for energy to keep you going. But too much
glucose in the blood isn't good for your health.
Glucose comes from the food you eat and is also made in your
liver and muscles. Your blood carries the glucose to all of the
cells in your body. Insulin is a chemical (a hormone) made by
the pancreas. The pancreas releases insulin into the blood.
Insulin helps the glucose from food get into your cells.
If your body does not make enough insulin or if the insulin
doesn't work the way it should, glucose can't get into your
cells. It stays in your blood instead. Your blood glucose level
then gets too high, causing pre-diabetes or diabetes.
Who Gets Type 2 Diabetes?
About 95 percent of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is also more common in people with a family
history of diabetes and in African Americans, Hispanic
Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Asian and
Pacific Islanders. Being over 45 years of age and overweight or
obese raises the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
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
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.
"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.
"What we don't yet know is exactly how much of
these compounds are necessary to potentially reduce the risk of type 2
diabetes," she added.
Prof Tim Spector, research collaborator and
director of the TwinsUK study from King's College London, said: "This is
an exciting finding that shows that some components of foods that we
consider unhealthy like chocolate or wine may contain some beneficial
substances. If we can start to identify and separate these substances we
can potentially improve healthy eating. There are many reasons including
genetics why people prefer certain foods so we should be cautious until
we test them properly in randomized trials and in people developing
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