UK & World News

  • 20 January 2014, 10:34

Chocolate And Red Wine 'Can Beat Diabetes'

Scientists have identified just how powerful some unlikely food and drinks can be in preventing the most common form of diabetes.

Dark chocolate, berries and even red wine contain flavanoids and now it has emerged that eating high levels of the compounds can provide protection from type 2 diabetes by helping the body regulate sugar levels.

Professor Aedin Cassidy has led the research at the University of East Anglia in Norwich.

She said: "Small changes to the normal diet you have can have significant effects on prevention efforts.

"We show that one portion of berries every day can help you control your blood sugar levels but also prevent you having a heart attack."

The study involved 2,000 women keeping a diary of all the food and drink they consumed and blood samples being analysed.

It revealedflavanoids help regulate levels of insulin, the hormone which controls glucose in the body. They also seemed to help prevent chronic inflammation.

Diabetes affects 2.9 million people in the UK and it is thought a further 850,000 may be unaware they have it.

Around 90% of those with the illness have type 2 diabetes, often associated with obesity, and it is this type that flavanoids could help guard against.

The study, also the work of King's College London, has shown that tea, certain herbs, celery, apples and oranges also contain the substances.

But there are warnings about overdoing the chocolate and wine when finding ways to consume flavanoids.

Dietician Dr Sarah Schenker said: "This is another study that strengthens what we know about them in our diet. They have already been shown to be powerful against cancer and heart disease.

"But there is always a tipping point with things like chocolate, red wine and even coffee ... too much outweighs the benefits."

The best flavanoids of all are anthocyanins that give fruit like berries and grapes and vegetables like aubergines their distinctive red or dark blue colouring. Flavones have also been shown to have an impact.

The next trial will focus on berries. And with cases of diabetes set to soar in the years ahead, an improvement in understanding of the disease cannot come soon enough.

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