We’ve all heard about the big benefits of the common berry. Despite their small size, berries are typically rich in a number of antioxidants. These antioxidants are believed to counteract disease promoting free radicals, produced when cells are damaged during oxidation. They are also packed full of many other micro nutrients that have been linked to disease prevention. And disease prevention is needed now more than ever…
Already accounting for well over half of the worlds deaths each year; chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes are on the rise. They currently impact more people across the world than ever before.
Type 2 diabetes is of a particular concern. More and more young people are now suffering from this disease, which was considered for a long time something only the older generation ever developed. Having Type 2 diabetes can not only severely impact a persons quality of life if not managed properly; it significantly increases the risk of developing many of the other chronic diseases mentioned above.
The role of diet and nutrition is increasingly being recognised as a key player in causing and preventing many of these major illnesses, including diabetes. Correlations have certainly been shown between the consumption of plant foods and lower incidences of chronic disease, and we are always on the lookout for more scientific evidence to really back these claims up.
A study was published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, examining the link between the intake of fruit and vegetables and a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes in men.
During the study, scientists examined a cross-section of 2332 Finnish men between the ages of 42-60 years old from the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. The average food intake was measured over a period of 4 days, and Type 2 diabetes risk was subsequently determined using a series of questionnaires, fasting blood glucose measurements, a 2 hour oral-glucose-tolerance test, and records of diabetes medication expenses.
The study showed that although no significant associations could be determined from fruit, fruit juices, and vegetables alone; berry intake showed a possible link, with a corresponding HR of 65%.
The results are certainly not ground breaking to say the least, and we shouldn’t take them as gospel. But they do offer a little more supporting evidence to show that certain plant foods, and in particular berries, can play their part in disease prevention.
Mursu, J., Virtanen, J. K., Tuomainen, T. P., Nurmi, T., & Voutilainen, S. (2014). Intake of fruit, berries, and vegetables and risk of type 2 diabetes in Finnish men: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 99(2), 328-333.