Older adults with type 2 diabetes could improve their heart health by consuming greater quantities of foods or beverages containing polyphenols, research suggests.
Polyphenols are compounds found in natural plant food sources such as fruits, vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, tea and wine. In this new study, the effects of polyphenols were tested on 2,753 adults with type 2 diabetes aged 50 to 75 years.
Scientists at the University of Naples Federico II evaluated the association between the total intake of polyphenols and polyphenol classes with the major cardiovascular risk factors (heart risk factors) among the type 2 population.
They observed that participants who had a higher polyphenol intake had lower BMI, waist and hip circumference, as well as more favourable cardiovascular risk profiles. These findings existed after adjusting for factors that could bias the results.
“These findings support the consumption of foods and beverages rich in different classes of polyphenols particularly in people with diabetes,” said the researchers, whose results appear online in the Clinical Nutrition journal.
The two most predominant classes of polyphenols were flavonoids, found in citrus fruit such as grapefruit, and phenolic acids, found in the skins and seeds of fruits. These classes accounted for 95 per cent of total polyphenol intake.
To assess dietary habits, participants completed a questionnaire to evaluate their polyphenol intake, with blood pressure and HbA1c among the health markers measured.
The researchers noted that these findings might not be significant at a clinical level, but could still have benefits for people with type 2 diabetes.
For more information on how to eat healthily and tackle type 2 diabetes, visit the Low Carb Program. Last week, the program was awarded the Positive Social Impact Award at the Lloyds Bank National Business Awards UK 2016.

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