Flavonoids in Red Wine and Chocolate May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Fri, 24 Jan 2014

The University of East Anglia has carried out a study that has shown that both chocolate and red wine contain components that could help prevent Type 2 diabetes.

The component of the red wine and chocolate that the scientists, including Prof Aedin Cassidy who led the research, were interested in are called flavonoids. These are found in a lot of vegetables and fruits, particularly those that are red or blue in colour. So they turn up in red wine because of the red grapes used to make it.

Flavonoids increase what is known as insulin resistance, and therefore reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes developing, are found in cocoa. And of course cocoa is in chocolate, one of humanity's favourite indulgences.

The health benefits are reputedly wide reaching, helping alleviate asthma and allergies, and preventing diabetes, periodontal disease, varicose veins, certain infections and cardiovascular disease .

But before you launch yourself at the stash of left over Christmas chocolates, or crack open a bottle to celebrate this new 'healthy' discovery, listen to the rest of the not-so-enjoyable news.

Chocolate and wine may contain these healthy molecules, but then so do a lot of vegetables. And wine and chocolate also contain a lot of UN-healthy stuff too. In any case the calories of the wine and chocolate are going to more than outweigh any health benefits these flavonoids can give, so they are not a viable source of nutrition and health.

The best sources of flavonoids are red and blue fruits and veg, such as strawberries, blueberries, red cabbage, raspberries, tomatoes and, good news for the British, tea.

However, dieting and looking after your health does not mean you can't treat yourself every now and then, as long as it is in moderation. You may therefore consider switching from white and milk chocolate to dark chocolate. Some people find it too bitter, but if you enjoy the taste, dark chocolate is made with much more cocoa, and therefore contains many more flavonoids.

So although flavonoids are in some of our favourite indulgences, the healthiest approach is of course, fruit and veg.
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