UEA scientists reveal that chocolate, tea and wine could guard against diabetes

Prof Aedin Cassidy

Prof Aedin Cassidy - Credit: Archant

Ingredients in wine, chocolate, tea and berries could reduce the risk of getting diabetes, according to new research by Norwich-based scientists.

New findings by the University of East Anglia have revealed that food and drink containing high levels of flavonoids and anthocyanins could offer protection from type 2 diabetes.

The research, which will be published today mon20in the Journal of Nutrition, reveals that high intakes of these dietary compounds are associated with lower insulin resistance and better blood glucose regulation.

A study of almost 2,000 people also found that food groups like berries, tea, and chocolate help lower inflammation. The research was coordinated by scientists at the UEA and King's College London.

Prof Aedin Cassidy, from the UEA's Norwich Medical School, who led the research, said it was the first large-scale human study into how the food compounds could reduce the risk of diabetes.

She added that the study 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.

'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.'

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'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.

'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 said.