Scientists from the University of Cambridge and elsewhere found that eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain foods is linked to a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes, is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high.
Blood glucose is your primary energy source and comes mainly from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose get into your cells to be used for energy.
In type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. Too much glucose then stays in your blood, and not enough reaches your cells.
In the study, researchers aimed to examine the association of vitamin C and carotenoids, as indicators of fruit and vegetable intake, with the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Carotenoids are a class of more than 750 naturally occurring pigments synthesized by plants, algae, and photosynthetic bacteria.
These richly colored molecules are the sources of the yellow, orange, and red colors of many plants.
Fruit and vegetables provide most of the 40 to 50 carotenoids found in the human diet.
The team examined 9754 participants with incident type 2 diabetes and another group of 13 662 people from eight European countries.
They found that higher blood vitamin C level was linked to a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Similarly, the blood level of carotenoids was linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
The team found a composite biomarker score, comprising vitamin C and carotenoids, was linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Self-reported average fruit and vegetable intake was 274 g/day, 396 g/day, and 508 g/day for participants in categories.
A 66 g/day difference in total fruit and vegetable intake was linked to a different type 2 diabetes risks.
Based on the findings, the team concluded that blood vitamin C and carotenoid levels are linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes in different European countries.
These biomarkers are objective indicators of fruit and vegetable consumption and suggest that diets including modest fruit and vegetables could help to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.
The research is published in The BMJ and was conducted by Ju-Sheng Zheng et al.
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