In the Journals

Flavonoids in berries, tea, chocolate may reduce type 2 diabetes risk

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February 2, 2014

Patients who consume high amounts of flavonoids, including anthocyanins and other compounds found in berries, tea and chocolate, may decrease their risk for developing type 2 diabetes, according to researchers.

“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,” Aedín Cassidy, PhD, MSc, BSc, of the department of nutrition at Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom, said in a press release.

Cassidy and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study of 1,997 women aged 18 to 76 years and recorded their intake of total flavonoids and their subclasses (flavanones, anthocyanins, flavan-3-ols, polymeric flavonoids, flavonols, flavones) from questionnaires.

In a multivariable analysis, higher anthocyanin and flavone consumption was associated with significantly lower homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR; P=.04) for anthocyanins and flavones, due to a decrease in insulin concentrations for anthocyanins (P=.02) and flavones (P=.02).

Higher amounts of anthocyanin consumption also were tied to a lower high-sensitive C-reactive protein concentration (P=.04); and patients in the highest quintile of flavone intake demonstrated improved adiponectin concentrations (P=.01).

Those who ate the most anthocyanins were least likely to demonstrate chronic inflammation, which is associated with diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and cancer, Cassidy said in the press release.

“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.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.

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