A diet that includes substances found in chocolate, tea and berries could
help protect people against diabetes and other diseases, new research shows.
The study included nearly 2 000 healthy women in the United Kingdom who
completed a food questionnaire and were tested for blood sugar (glucose)
regulation, inflammation and insulin
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"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-coloured fruits and vegetables," study
leader Aedin Cassidy, of the University of East Anglia in England, said in a
university news release.
The investigators found that consuming high levels of flavones and
anthocyanins was associated with lower insulin resistance, better blood
sugar regulation and lower levels of inflammation. Chronic inflammation is
associated with diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
The study was published in the Journal of Nutrition.
"This is one of the first large-scale human studies to look at how
these powerful bioactive compounds might reduce the risk of diabetes,"
Earlier research that took place in laboratories suggested that these types
of foods might affect blood sugar, which plays a role in type 2 diabetes risk,
she noted. However, it was unknown how regular consumption of these ingredients
might affect a person's blood glucose and inflammation levels and insulin
resistance, Cassidy said in the news release.
What remains unclear is exactly what amounts of these compounds are needed
to reduce the risk of diabetes, the study authors added. Also unclear is how
much of a health benefit the compounds really carry the study found an
association between consumption and seemingly better health but not
According to study co-author Tim Spector, of King's College London,
"This is an exciting finding that shows that some components of foods that
we consider unhealthy like chocolate
may contain some beneficial substances. If we can start to identify and
separate these substances we can potentially improve healthy
eating," he said in the news release.
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