Eating Apples, Pears, and Blueberries Might Help Prevent Diabetes
Last updated:March 19, 2012
If your blood sugar's been a little high lately, you might want to load up on apples, pears, and blueberries.
According to new research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, higher intake of those fruits was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Scientists followed almost 200,000 men and women for up to 24 years. The participants filled out surveys about their dietary habits, including portion sizes. All the participants were diabetes-free at the beginning of the study, but about 12,600 participants were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes during the study.
According to The Chicago Tribune, eating a cup of blueberries or five or more apples every week was associated with a 23 percent smaller risk of type 2 diabetes.
Researchers think that it's the anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid in blueberries, apples, and pears, that makes the difference. Flavonoids in general have been linked to positive health benefits, including fighting inflammation and cancer. Researchers have been studying the effects of anthocyanins on particular kinds of cancer since 2007, after animal studies showed beneficial results.
Besides their health properties, anthocyanins are also the molecules that give certain fruits their bright colors -- which is handy if you're standing in the produce section. Just pick other bright fruits and berries, including blackberries, raspberries, cranberries, cherries, and even eggplant -- and be sure to eat the brightly colored skin.