Researchers at the University of Turku in Finland have discovered that eating red and purple fruits and vegetables rich in anthocyanins may help prevent diabetes by influencing inflammation, gut flora, and energy metabolism. The pigments, which are particularly beneficial in purplish tubers like potatoes, lower the chance of developing diabetes, according to the study published in the American Chemical Society journal. With over 37 million people diagnosed with diabetes and nearly 96 million people over the age of 18 living with prediabetes, the findings of the study could offer a significant breakthrough.
The study found that acylated anthocyanin, which has a chemical acyl group attached to its sugar molecules, provides the most pronounced effect in preventing diabetes. Foods like red cabbages, purple carrots, purple potatoes, and radishes are rich in acylated variants. Postdoctoral researcher Kang Chen from the Food Sciences Unit at the University of Turku stated that purple vegetables contain many acylated anthocyanins, with the Finnish variety called ‘Synkeä Sakari’ particularly abundant in them.
The study also found that acylated anthocyanins have probiotic qualities that enhance and preserve the intestinal lining’s health, control the metabolism of glucose and lipids, and reduce the body’s inflammatory response. While acylation makes it more challenging to absorb during digestion, it also provides other fantastic benefits. Acylated substances move throughout the body, from the upper GI tract to the colon, where gut microorganisms decompose and digest them. The researchers also found that acylation affects which glucose transporters are engaged in absorbing anthocyanins, and the structural variations also have a variety of effects on the enzymes engaged in the metabolic processes.
With the prevalence of diabetes and prediabetes, the study’s findings suggest that incorporating more red and purple fruits and vegetables into one’s diet could provide significant health benefits.