Researchers have discovered that high intakes of flavonoids link to lower insulin resistance and better blood glucose regulation – key functions in the battle against diabetes. Flavonoids are typically found in plant-based foods such as apples, berries, broccoli and onions (they can also be found in dark chocolate and red wine).
Professor Aedin Cassidy is the lead researcher and said that his team 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.”
The study in question looked at a selection of 2,000 people and found that these compounds lower inflammation associated with cardiovascular disease, obesity, cancer and diabetes.
There are thought to be three million people in the UK living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, with a further 850,000 estimated to be living with the disease undiagnosed. If current trends continue, it is estimated that there will be five million people with diabetes by 2050.
The disease is a major cause of stroke, kidney failure and limb amputation and is currently the leading cause of blindness in people of working age in Britain. While genetics do play a part, type 2 diabetes can be protected against with proper diet and exercise.
Dr Alasdair Rankin, Director of Research for Diabetes UK has spoken out to say that a healthy diet consisting of lots of fruit and vegetables (including berries, apples and pears) is ideal, but red wine and chocolate should remain limited as any health benefit would be outweighed by the calories and alcohol.