by KAREN FOSTER
Strong evidence from several studies have shown that individuals consuming fruits and vegetables rich in different flavonoids have a reduced risk of overall mortality and of several chronic diseases. According to new research from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and King’s College London, eating high levels of flavonoids including anthocyanins and other compounds (found in berries, tea, and chocolate) may prevent type 2 diabetes, a disease whose initial stages is now affecting almost 40 percent of Americans age 20 and older.
Flavonoids, which are found in a variety of fruits and vegetables as well as in tea, red wine, chocolate and berries, are thought to boost health in part by combating oxidation, a process in which cell-damaging substances called free radicals accumulate. Oxidative damage can be caused by several factors, especially by those factors on the cellular level. Is is suspected of increasing the risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and several other diseases.
Some studies have shown that the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and even cancer decline as consumption of flavonoids rises.
Findings published in the Journal of Nutrition reveal 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 these food groups lower inflammation which, when chronic, is associated with diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
Prof Aedin Cassidy from UEA’s Norwich Medical School led the research. She said: “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-coloured fruits and vegetables.