by Lexi Petronis
Just in case you need a health-related reason to reach for a bit of cocoa or vino, here's some interesting news: a new study has found that both may offer protection against type 2 diabetes.
Researchers from Kings College London and the University of East Anglia found that consuming high amounts of flavonoids that are found in chocolate, berries, tea, and wine is linked to reduced insulin resistance, improved glucose regulation, and reduced inflammation (a condition that may be linked to cardiovascular disease, obesity, and cancer).
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After studying 1,997 female volunteers between ages 18 and 76, the researchers found that those who ate lots of anthocyanins and flavones--which are found in foods such as berries, herbs, red grapes, chocolate and wine--had lower insulin resistance and improved levels of a protein that help regulate glucose and other metabolic functions.
The researchers aren't sure just yet what the magic level of healthy flavonoids from these foods is--but that the participants who consumed 50 milligrams of flavonoids in dark chocolate seemed to experience "reduced blood pressure, improved blood flow" and it "helped keep arteries healthy and flexible."
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Says one study author: "In general, dark chocolate contains more of the powerful bioactive compounds, and addition of a small amount of chocolate to an otherwise healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables could be important for prevention efforts to reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes."
Good to think about--what with Valentine's Day looming and all, right?
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