The key thread linking the goodies is high levels of flavonoids, dietary compounds linked to reduced insulin resistance and improved glucose regulation. Type 2 diabetes - the most common form of diabetes - is caused by insulin resistance. This means the body is unable to use insulin properly, which can lead to abnormal blood glucose levels, which wrecks all sorts of havoc on the body.
To reach their findings, investigators from the UK's Kings College London and the University of East Anglia analyzed 1,997 female volunteers aged between 18 and 76 years from TwinsUK - the largest UK twin registry used for research into genetics, the environment and common diseases, Medical News Today reports
The women completed a food questionnaire that estimated their total dietary flavonoid intake and their intake from six flavonoid subclasses: anthocyanins, flavanones, flavan-3-ols, polymeric flavonoids, flavonols and flavones. The study found that women who consumed high levels of anthocyanins and flavones - compounds found in berries, herbs, red grapes, chocolate and wine - demonstrated lower insulin resistance.
Women who consumed the highest levels of flavones also had improved levels of a protein called adiponectin, which regulates glucose levels. Volunteers who consumed the most anthocyanins (compounds responsible for the red/blue color of berries and other fruits and vegetables) were the least likely to have chronic inflammation, which has been linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and cancer. The results were published in The Journal of Nutrition
This is an "exciting finding that shows that some components of foods that we consider unhealthy like chocolate or wine may contain some beneficial substances," said Prof. Tim Spector of King's College London, co-author of the study. But the researchers say they haven't yet figured out the levels at which these compounds may protect against type 2 diabetes.
Maybe you really can't have too much of that chocolatey goodness.
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Great news from a new study: chocolate, wine, tea and berries may protect against type 2 diabetes. These are only a few of our favorite things!