A substance found in a variety of plant-based foods may improve blood sugar in people at risk for heart disease and diabetes, according to a recent study.
Researchers found that a diet rich in plant antioxidants (called polyphenols) lowered blood sugar. The antioxidants are found in dark chocolate, green tea, coffee, and extra virgin olive oil, among other foods.
Lead researcher Lutgarda Bozzetto, MD, says the people in the study felt the diet was easy to stick with. Bozzetto is with the University of Naples Federico II in Italy and presented the study at the European Atherosclerosis Society 2014 Congress.
In this new study, 45 overweight or obese people followed one of four diets:
- A diet low in omega-3 fatty acids and polyphenols
- A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids
- A diet rich in polyphenols
- A diet that included omega-3 fatty acids and polyphenols (in lower amounts than group 3)
Those on the omega-3 fatty acid-enriched diets lost more weight during the 8-week study. But blood sugar and insulin levels improved more with the polyphenol-enriched diet. The researchers also noticed improvements in the way the pancreas worked in people on the polyphenol-enriched diet.
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