It seems that research done by the University of East Anglia (UEA) and King’s College London shows that chocolate may in fact be the sixth food group and essential to life. Well, maybe that is going a little over the top, but it seems that eating chocolate regularly can actually protect us from diabetes and heart disease.
Chocolate and other anthocyanin containing foods have been found, in this study, to modulate blood glucose regulation which reduces the risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
Other anthocyanin containing foods include; tea, red grapes, wine, red coloured vegetables and berries.
The research findings were published in January 2014 in the Journal of Nutrition and involved almost 2000 female volunteers.
Professor Aedin Cassidy, leader of the research, said; “Our research looked at the benefits of eating certain sub-groups of flavonoids. We focused on flavones, which are found in herbs and vegetables such as parsley, thyme and celery, and anthocyanins, found in berries, red grapes, wine and other red or blue-coloured fruits and vegetables.”
“This is one of the first large-scale human studies to look at how these powerful bioactive compounds might reduce the risk of diabetes,” Professor Cassidy said. “But until now little has been known about how habitual intakes might affect insulin resistance, blood glucose regulation and inflammation in humans.”
Higher insulin resistance has been linked to type 2 Diabetes and the consumption of these foods seems to reduce that resistance, leading to the conclusion that they may reduce the likelihood of a person developing Type 2 Diabetes.
This part of the study only looked at the effect of these foods on healthy child bearing age women, so there is now a call for men and post menopausal women to undertake the next part of the research, with a focus on blueberries. This will determine if there is in fact an effect from these foods in all people.
Written by Rachelle Williams – the Green Food Safety Coach