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Anthocyanins, the Antioxidants Found in Berries, May Reduce Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

A recent study suggests that eating more anthocyanin-rich berries may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 18%. Anthocyanins are the antioxidants that give fruits and vegetables their red, blue or purple color.


Participants in the study included 200,894 people who took part in three cohort studies. Of those participants, 12,611 had diabetes. The data set also included 194,019 participants — 13,013 of whom had diabetes — who took part in five other cohort studies, for a total of 394,913 participants and 25,624 cases of diabetes.


After examining the data, the researchers found that dietary anthocyanin consumption was associated with a 15% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes and that berry intake in particular was associated with an 18% reduction. They also found that every 7.5 mg per day of dietary anthocyanin or 17 g per day increment of berry intake was associated with a 5% reduction in risk of developing type 2 diabetes.


Researchers from Zhejiang University in China conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on August 17, 2016, in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.


Previous studies have shown that anthocyanins may protect the body from free radical damage. This may help reduce the risk of some chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Anthocyanins can be found in red, blue, or purple fruits and vegetables. Blueberries, cranberries and acai have particularly high levels.

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