The University of East Anglia reviewed 2,000 healthy women and found that those that had higher intakes of two dietary compounds had lower and were therefore less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
The dietary compounds researched were anthocyanins and flavones. In addition to having health benefits, anthocyanins are also responsible for providing a number of vegetables and fruit with a red or purple colour. Aubergines, blackcurrants and cherries are examples and red wine is also as it is made from dark coloured grapes. Flavones are a compound found in herbs, including parsley and thymen, celery, tea and chocolate.
The study found that women that had a higher amount of flavones and anthocyanins had a lower level of insulin resistance and therefore stood at a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In addition, those that had more anthocyanins, in particular, were less likely to develop chronic inflammation, which can lead to long term health problems including obesity, type 2 diabetes and cancer.
Whilst the mention of wine and chocolate will attract attentio, it’s important to note that anthocyanins and flavones are present in a wide variety of vegetable sources, so the best way to get a good amount of these flavonoids into your diet is to increase intake of vegetables and fruit such as red or purple vegetables (including aubergines and red cabbage) and red or purple fruits (including berries, cherries and black grapes).
If you tend to have milk or white chocolate, it may be worth switching to dark chocolate as dark chocolate has a higher amount of cocoa solids and usually has significantly less sugar than milk or white chocolate. Importantly, dark chocolate also contains higher levels of the flavonoids that are linked with lower levels of insulin resistance. Previous research carried out on chocolate consumption has shown dark chocolate to be associated with an increased likelihood of losing weight.
If you’re considering switching to dark chocolate from milk chocolate, note that it can take some people up to a few weeks for their taste buds to get used to a different taste of chocolate, but once they do, you’ll be enjoying a healthier treat.
It is advisable to decrease rather than increase your alcohol intake. Whilst red wine has been linked to some health benefits, the alcohol can still carry a risk factor for a number of long term conditions from liver disease to cancer to gout. If you have questions about the quantity of alcohol you can drink or the type of alcohol, it’s best to ask your GP.

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