Antioxidant Rich Diet Linked To Reduced Type 2 Diabetes Risk

A team of French scientists showed that a diet brimming with antioxidant-rich foods is associated with less risk for type 2 diabetes.

Earlier studies suggested some antioxidants lower diabetes risk, but these studies focused on specific nutrients (e.g., flavonoids, lycopene, vitamin C). The French researchers wanted to know whether a person’s overall antioxidant intake influences type 2 diabetes development.

To find out, they used health data collected from 64,223 women, aged 40 to 65 years who were free from diabetes and cardiovascular disease when accepted in the study. Each participant, at the study’s inception, completed a detailed diet questionnaire. The women were followed over a 15 year period.

Using the dietary information, investigators calculated the antioxidant intake level for each participant, and then compared these scores to the incidence of diabetes during the study’s follow-up period.

The results confirmed the scientists’ suspicions. Type 2 diabetes risk diminished as the participants’ antioxidant level increased; the protective effect plateaued when antioxidant intake reached 15 mmol/day. Getting antioxidant consumption to the plateau level can be achieved by eating foods such as berries, tea, nuts, green veggies, and dark chocolate.

After taking other diabetes risk factors into account, the women with the highest antioxidant scores showed a reduced diabetes risk of 27 percent, compared to those with the lowest scores. The greatest contribution to high antioxidant levels came from eating fruits, vegetables, tea, and red wine (in moderate amounts). Coffee was excluded from this study.

“This work complements our current knowledge of the effect of isolated foods and nutrients, and provides a more comprehensive view of the relationship between food and type 2 diabetes,” said lead researcher Guy Fagherazzi.

“We know that [antioxidants] counterbalance the effect of free radicals, which are damaging to cells, but there are likely to be more specific actions in addition to this, for example an effect on the sensitivity of cells to insulin," adds lead study author Francesca Romana Mancini. "This will need to be confirmed in future studies.”

Source: Science Daily
Photo credit: Jan-Willem Reusink

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