Type 2 diabetes and early stages of the disease such as insulin resistance are spreading like a bushfire. The good news is that if you consume many antioxidants from fruit, vegetables, berries, tea, and dark chocolate and limit your intake of alcohol, you can lower your risk diabetes risk. This was shown in a new study that is published in the European journal Diabetologia, which focuses on diabetes research.
A team of scientists from Villejuif in France that studies public health across several generations has found that you can lower your risk of diabetes by consuming a diet rich in antioxidants. Earlier studies show that antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, lycopene, and flavonoids could reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. However, these studies were only based on a few antioxidants and not the total amount of antioxidants in the diet. In order to look closer at this, the French scientists used data from a previous French cohort study (E3N), in which researchers had followed 64,223 women aged 40 to 65 years during the period 1993-2008. At baseline, none of the women had diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
At the beginning of the study, each study participant filled in a questionnaire with questions about more than 200 different food items. By comparing this information with an Italian database providing information about the amount of antioxidants in different foods, the French scientists could calculate scores for the total antioxidant uptake of each study participant. Afterwards, they analyzed the relation between this score and the risk of developing diabetes during the 15-year study period.
Loads of antioxidants in several delicious foods
Their study showed a lowered diabetes risk with increased antioxidant intake until a certain limit (15 mmol/L per day). It is possible to reach this level with a diet rich in fruit and vegetables that includes particularly rich antioxidant sources such as dark chocolate, tea, walnuts, prunes, grapes, berries, and hazel nuts (just to mention a few). Dark foods like cocoa beans, blueberries, elderberries, and red grapes generally contain more antioxidants than other food sources.
Substantially lower diabetes risk
The risk of developing diabetes was 27 per cent lower among those women who consumed many antioxidants, compared with those who consumed few. This difference remained even after the scientists had adjusted for diabetes-promoting factors such as smoking, hypertension, elevated cholesterol, high BMI (one of the largest risk factors), and level of education.
The foods that contained the most antioxidants according to the study score were fruits and vegetables, tea, and red wine (in moderate quantities). The scientists had excluded coffee in their analysis, as it is already known that coffee beans provide a host of antioxidants that lower your risk of diabetes.
Why do antioxidants have this effect?
According to the researchers, the big question now is why these different antioxidants lower the risk of diabetes. We know already that antioxidants counteract the harmful impact from free radicals that attack our cells, cholesterol, and cardiovascular system. Everyone is exposed to free radicals, which are a byproduct of normal respiration. The free radical load is increased by factors such as stress, inflammation, smoking, poisoning, ageing processes, and radiation.
Based on their study, the French scientists also assume that the antioxidants have a positive effect on cellular insulin sensitivity. Insulin is a hormone that helps channel glucose from the blood into the cells. In the case of insulin resistance, which is an early stage of type 2 diabetes, the cells have impaired glucose uptake. Therefore, the scientists are thinking of looking into how antioxidants affect insulin sensitivity.
Make sure to get many different antioxidants for optimal protection against free radicals
The diet provides vitamin A, vitamins A, B1, B2, B5, B6, and C, plus selenium, zinc, manganese, and a variety of plant compounds. Antioxidants are either water-soluble or lipid-soluble and work in entirely different ways to combat free radicals. It is therefore vital to get as many different antioxidants as possible by consuming a balanced diet with the best antioxidant sources.
Consumption of antioxidant-rich foods is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, study shows – ScienceDaily
Pernille Lund. Sådan får du styr på dit blodsukker og din vægt. Ny Videnskab 2013
Search for more information...
Click here if
you want to search for more information about antioxidants