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Grape-eating rodents have a significantly lowered incidence of type 1 diabetes, according to research published in the May 2007 Journal of Nutrition. The study showed that grape-eating reduced the movement of immune cells into the islets of Langerhans, thus preventing damage to the beta cells located therein.
Grape intake also reduced the levels of an inflammatory protein in spleen cells (TNF-alpha) and led to a significantly higher anti-oxidant capacity in the blood.
The beneficial effects are attributed to grape antioxidants called polyphenols. Previous studies have shown that other grape phytonutrients, including anthocyanins and quercetin (a flavonol), enhance insulin secretion and sensitivity.
Consuming the whole grape, as opposed to a supplement, is recommended to get the full benefit of phytonutrients in foods, including the polyphenols in grapes. Given the recent news about how cherries cut the risk of type 2 diabetes, it might be a good idea to eat more table fruit.
Source: California Table Grape Commission Press release
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