Nearly 27 percent of senior citizens age 65 or older already have type 2 diabetes
Jan. 20, 2014 – Diabetes is a common worry for most seniors, who will welcome the news that eating more berries, tea, wine and chocolate may offer protection from type 2 diabetes. These foods contain high levels of flavonoids, including anthocyanins – water soluble pigments found in many plants – that new research suggests will ward off the disease.
These findings published today in the Journal of Nutrition reveal that high intakes of these dietary compounds are associated with lower insulin resistance and better blood glucose regulation.
People can get diabetes at any age, but the risk increases as we get older. In 2011, almost 11 million older adults living in the U.S., including nearly 27 percent of seniors 65 or older, have diabetes.
The study from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and King’s College London of almost 2,000 people also found that these food groups lower inflammation which, when chronic, is associated with diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
“Our research looked at the benefits of eating certain sub-groups of flavanoids. 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-colored fruits and vegetables,” says Prof Aedin Cassidy from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, who led the research.
“This is one of the first large-scale human studies to look at how these powerful bioactive compounds might reduce the risk of diabetes. 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.”
Researchers studied almost 2,000 healthy women volunteers from TwinsUK who had completed a food questionnaire designed to estimate total dietary flavonoid intake as well as intakes from six flavonoid subclasses.
Blood samples were analysed for evidence of both glucose regulation and inflammation. Insulin resistance, a hallmark of type 2 diabetes, was assessed using an equation that considered both fasting insulin and glucose levels.