If you’re reading this over a glass of red wine while scoffing chocolate, don’t feel guilty – it might actually be doing your body good.
Eating high levels of flavonoids, which are found in berries, tea, and chocolate, may offer protection from type 2 diabetes, according to research published this week in the Journal of Nutrition.
In a study of nearly 2000 women, researchers from the University of East Anglia and King’s College London found that high intakes of these dietary compounds were associated with lower insulin resistance and better blood glucose regulation.
These food groups also lower inflammation which, when chronic, is associated with diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
Prof Aedin Cassidy from UEA’s Norwich Medical School led the study, which 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,” she said.
“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 study involved a food questionnaire designed to estimate dietary intakes. And who would fib about how much they drank or how much chocolate they consumed?
Blood samples were analysed for evidence of both glucose regulation and inflammation. Insulin resistance, a hallmark of type 2 diabetes, was also measured.
“We found that those who consumed plenty of anthocyanins and flavones had lower insulin resistance,” Prof Cassidy said. “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.”
But they don’t yet now how much of the compounds the body needs to potentially reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
But as anyone who loves chocolate knows, there’s no such thing as too much.
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