Researchers from the UK, US and Singapore have linked eating more fruit, particularly blueberries, apples and grapes to a reduced risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
They looked at the diets of more than 187,000 people in the US. Data from three large studies of nurses and health professionals in the US was examined to find the correlation between fruit consumption and the risk of contracting type-2 diabetes.
The studies used food frequency questionnaires to follow up the participants every four years, asking how often, on average, they ate a standard portion of each fruit. The fruits used in the study were grapes or raisins, peaches, plums or apricots, prunes, bananas, cantaloupe, apples or pears, oranges, grapefruit, strawberries and blueberries. In these studies, 6.5% of participants (12,198 out of 187,382) developed type-2 diabetes.
The researchers' analysis of the data showed that three servings per week of blueberries, grapes and raisins, and apples and pears significantly reduced the risk of type-2 diabetes. It was found that blueberries cut the risk by 26% compared with 2% for three servings of any whole fruit. However, fruit juice did not appear to have the same effect.
The researchers said this could be due to the fact these fruits contain high levels of anthocyanins, which have been shown to enhance glucose uptake in mice. The same fruits contain naturally-occurring polyphenols which are known to have beneficial effects.
The results of the study should be treated with caution. The study was published in the British Medical Journal.
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