Anthocyanin Intake Decreases Type 2 Diabetes Risk

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A newly published study suggests that consumption of anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant found in darkly pigmented plant foods such as berries, plums, and eggplants, significantly decreases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This study examined the diets of over 200,000 American men and women who were part of the Nurses' Heath Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Diets were evaluated for multiple classes of antioxidants including anthocyanins, flavanols, flavones, and others. Researches then looked at who developed type 2 diabetes based on the amounts of antioxidants consumed. They discovered that consuming anthocyanin-rich fruits decreased diabetes risk; eating more than five servings of apples or pears per week, or two servings of blueberries decreased the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 23 percent, compared with those who ate these foods less than once per month. The mechanisms for decreased risk are a bit unclear, but it appears anthocyanins can alter genes in a way that improves insulin sensitivity.

Wedick NM, Pan A, Cassidy A, et al. Dietary flavonoid intakes and risk of type 2 diabetes in US men and women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012;95(4):925-933.

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