Adopting a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables is beneficial from a general health standpoint, but a new study suggests that it may also reduce the risk of contracting type 2 diabetes.
Researchers from the Institute of Health and Society and the Human Nutrition Research Centre at Newcastle University have found that these foods reduce biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress, which are major risk factors for the disease.
“This research points towards the importance of improving our understanding of the relation between diet as a whole and chronic disease outcomes such as type 2 diabetes,” the researchers stated.
The study utilized over 1,500 responses from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS), an annual survey that evaluates food consumption and nutritional status in the United Kingdom. Within this sample, the researchers tested two specific blood biomarkers that were taken from participants.
The two biomarkers that were tested were a serum C-reactive protein, which can be used to measure inflammation, and a plasma carotenoid, which measures oxidative stress in the body. They found that people who consumed higher amounts of fruits and vegetables had lower levels of these biomarkers, which put them at reduced risk of having type 2 diabetes.
Going forward, the researchers say that they want to find out which specific foods had the greatest impact on lowering inflammation and oxidative stress. They also want to test to see if certain combinations of foods can provide greater benefits.
“Though we know that individual foods may reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, we know little of how foods interact together and in relation to nutrients to achieve a desired health outcome,” they said.
They also hope to garner more information in the future in order to “understand even more how the diet of people with undiagnosed or diagnosed diabetes differs from people who do not have diabetes.”
The full study has been published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition.