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Blueberries and Apples Tied to Lower Diabetes Risk

Posted: Saturday, April 07, 2012

Eating more blueberries, apples and pears may be linked to lower risk of diabetes.
 
These fruits are loaded with flavonoids, a natural compound present in certain fruits, vegetables and grains, which some research has tentatively tied to heath benefits such as a lower risk of heart disease or cancer.

An Pan, a research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health who worked on the study said, "People who ate a higher amount of blueberries or apples, they tended to have a low risk of type 2 diabetes." The findings show an association, he added, but don't prove the fruits themselves prevent diabetes.

The new work parallels a study published in the same journal last year associating flavonoid-rich fruits with a reduced risk of high blood pressure.

For the new U.S. National Institutes of Health-funded study, researchers tracked the dietary patterns of approximately 200,000 men and women for up to 24 years.

The participants, who were enrolled in three large ongoing studies of American health professionals, filled out regular questionnaires about how frequently they consumed certain foods and beverages of a standard portion size. None had diabetes at the outset, but about 12,600 of the participants were diagnosed during the research period.

The lightest blueberry eaters in the study reported getting less than one serving (half a cup) of the fruit per month, while the biggest blueberry consumers had two or more servings per week.

Pan's team found that blueberry-lovers had a 23 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared with those who ate no blueberries. People who ate five or more apples a week also had a 23 percent lower risk compared with those who didn't eat apples.

The researchers suggested that certain flavonoids especially high in those fruits might be behind their possibly beneficial effect on diabetes risk. Pan stated that, "We found consistent results across the three (study groups) that apples and blueberries are beneficial for type 2 diabetes."

That was after taking into account other risk factors, such as body weight, cigarette smoking and a family history of diabetes. These results jibe with an earlier Finnish report related to consumption of berries and apples and diabetes risk. But these previous studies were much smaller in scope, Pan noted.

While fruit sugar raises blood glucose levels rapidly, other substances in fruit such as fibers and pectin may have diabetes-related benefits. This is a good reason to consume whole fruits rather than fruit juices which have been shown to increase the risk of diabetes.

Source: http://www.diabetesincontrol.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=12561&catid=53&Itemid=8, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, online February 22, 2012.

 
 
 
 
 
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