Moderate drinking found to reduce chance of the disease by 27%. Moderate amount of red wine and dark chocolate can protect against diabetes.
-Guilty pleasures contain antioxidants thought to protect against the disease.
-Researchers recruited women aged 40 - 65, then tracked them for 15 years.
-Those who consumed most antioxidants had a 27 per cent reduced diabetes risk.
Women are less likely to develop diabetes when they indulge in a ‘moderate’ amount of red wine and dark chocolate.
These guilty pleasures contain antioxidants which are thought to protect against diabetes.
A study of more than 64,000 women found those who consumed the most antioxidants, also found in tea and blueberries, slashed their chances of getting the disease by 27 per cent compared to those with a low intake.
While the health benefits of fruit and vegetables are well known, experts are more concerned about the health risks of drinking.
The study found healthy compounds in wine ‘prevail’ over the damaging alcohol, provided women stick to a half a glass to a glass a day
However the study, among French women with a similar liking for wine to the British, found 15 per cent of their antioxidants came from alcohol – principally red wine.
The study concludes that these healthy compounds in wine ‘prevail’ over the damaging alcohol, provided women stick to a moderate consumption of half a glass to a glass a day.
Antioxidants, also found in dark chocolate, are thought to protect the body from ‘oxidative stress’ – a type of damage to the cells which could lead to diabetes. They are also found in walnuts, prunes, strawberries and hazelnuts.
Guy Fagherazzi, co-author of the study from the centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health in France, said: ‘This work complements our current knowledge of the effect of isolated foods and nutrients, and provides a more comprehensive view of the relationship between food and type 2 diabetes.
The researchers recruited women aged 40 to 65 who were diabetes-free, then followed them over 15 years and found those who consumed most antioxidants had a 27 per cent reduced diabetes risk
‘We have shown that an increased intake of antioxidants can contribute to a reduction in diabetes risk.’
The researchers recruited women aged 40 to 65 who were diabetes-free, then followed them over 15 years.
The women were given a 208-item food questionnaire at the start of the study, used to work out an antioxidant ‘score’ for their consumption.
Those who consumed the most antioxidants had a 27 per cent reduced diabetes risk compared to those with the lowest scores.
The foods and drinks which most contributed to women’s high dietary antioxidant scores were fruit and vegetables, red wine and hot drinks, including tea, hot chocolate and chicory.
Antioxidants, which also found in dark chocolate, are thought to protect the body from ‘oxidative stress’, a type of damage to the cells which could lead to diabetes
Red wine contains an antioxidant called resveratrol, which studies have suggested could help people conceive and slow the progress of dementia.
However, it has previously been indicated these benefits require large amounts of the antioxidant, which would be the equivalent of drinking several bottles of wine a day.
The latest study, published in the journal Diabetologia, is unusual in suggesting just a small amount could have a positive effect, with the authors recommending ‘moderation’ of half a glass to a glass of red wine a day.
Pav Kalsi, senior clinical adviser at Diabetes UK, said: ‘This study adds to the evidence that a diet high in antioxidant-rich foods, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, is linked to a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes UK, said while red wine and dark chocolate contain some antioxidants, they should be consumed in much smaller amounts as part of a healthy balanced diet
‘We now need to find out more about the potential protective effects of these foods in everyone at risk of Type 2 diabetes.’
The reduction in diabetes risk remained when other risks, including body mass and family history of diabetes, were taken into account.
Lead author Francesca Romana Mancini said: ‘We know that these molecules counterbalance the effect of free radicals, which are damaging to cells, but there are likely to be more specific actions in addition to this, for example an effect on the sensitivity of cells to insulin. This will need to be confirmed in future studies.’
Emma Elvin, clinical advisor for Diabetes UK, said: ‘Red wine and dark chocolate contain some antioxidants, but for overall health they should be consumed in much smaller amounts as part of a healthy balanced diet.
‘Regularly consuming too many calories and making unhealthy food and drink choices can lead to weight gain, and in turn increase your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.’
By Victoria Allen
November 9, 2017
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