Posted on | June 21, 2010 | No Comments
Anthocyanins are a class of plant pigment known as flavanoids and produce red, pink, violet and magenta colors in various plants, fruits and vegetables including blueberries, purple cabbage and cherries. They are potent antioxidants and contain highly active chemicals that have been shown to provide protection against heart disease and cancer.
Recent research has revealed that anthocyanins have a significant impact on insulin levels. Insulin is produced by the pancreas and helps regulate blood sugar (glucose) levels. Research found that pancreatic cells that were exposed to anthocyanins increased insulin production by 50%.
The exact mechanism by which these anthocyanins boost insulin production is not known. Further study is needed to confirm their findings. If found to be correct, it’s possible that anthocyanins could eventually be incorporated into products and supplements that could help treat diabetes.
Other foods shown to produce insulin boosting effects are:
Cinnamon. In a 2003 study, diabetic patients taking cinnamon (equivalent to one teaspoon a day, in divided doses) dropped their glucose levels by as much as 29%. LDL cholesterol and triglycerides also showed marked reductions.
Black Soybean seed coats: Another study on anthyocyanins which were shown to decrease glucose levels, improve left ventricular function, diastolic pressure and activated insulin receptors.
So while furthers study is needed on these natural sources of treatment, the initial studies are promising. I firmly believe the health benefits from anthocyanins and antioxidants should not be underestimated.
Importantly, don’t go out and start eating loads of cherries, blueberries and other red and blue coloured fruit to help you protect against Diabetes. Fruit is high in energy and sugar – and these studies take place using the active ingredients extracted out them (i.e. no sugar!) However, it’s good practice to make sure your diet contains brightly coloured plants, fruits and vegetables to receive natures health boosters – just don’t over do the fruit!