Eating a diet rich in anthocyanins (particularly from berries) may reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a new study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
By analyzing the results of eight cohort studies, researchers from Zhejiang University in China found a significant relationship between anthocyanin intake and type 2 diabetes risk: men and women who consumed the most dietary anthocyanins decreased their risk of type 2 diabetes by 15%, and women who ate the most berries lowered their risk by 16%.
Anthocyanins are a group of antioxidants most notably found in berries, wine, and cocoa. Since they scavenge destructive free radicals and reduce cellular damage, they are credited with protecting DNA, reducing inflammation, regulating the immune response, maintaining healthy blood glucose and lipid levels, stopping cancer cells from proliferating, and lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease, among other benefits.
The authors examined data from eight cohort studies that reported on dietary anthocyanin intake and berry intake, respectively. The three anthocyanin studies followed 200,894 participants and recorded 12,611 incident cases of type 2 diabetes, while the five berry intake studies followed 194,019 participants and investigated 13,013 cases of type 2 diabetes.
The antioxidant power of anthocyanins was primarily responsible for the reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, according to the research team.
Guo, X., Yang, B., Tan, J., Jiang, J., & Li, D. (2016). Associations of dietary intakes of anthocyanins and berry fruits with risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2016.142