Incorporating more purple vegetables into your diet may provide a potential defense against diabetes, according to research from the University of Turku in Finland. The study proposes that the red and purple pigments, known as anthocyanins, found in produce such as blueberries and strawberries may be helpful in preventing diabetes. The study further suggests that these purple pigments are even more beneficial when acylated, as these variations improve inflammation, gut flora, and energy metabolism, lowering the risk of developing diabetes. The study’s authors point out that the benefits of acylated anthocyanin-rich foods such as red cabbages, purple potatoes, purple carrots, and radishes are more substantial. According to the CDC, over 37 million people have diabetes, with nearly 96 million people over 18 having prediabetes. The study concludes that acylation affects how the anthocyanins are absorbed and metabolized in the body, and thus provides a defense against the disease.
According to Kang Chen, a postdoctoral researcher from the Food Sciences Unit at the University of Turku, “The latest research has shown that the acylated and nonacylated anthocyanins can impact Type 2 diabetes in different ways.” Chen explains that the acylation of anthocyanins influences the absorption and metabolism of the pigments, leading to health benefits that include enhancing and maintaining the health of the intestinal lining and controlling glucose and lipid metabolism. However, acylated anthocyanins are more challenging to digest than their non-acylated counterparts. But this challenge is not necessarily a bad thing because acylated anthocyanins can also provide other health benefits. “The studies have shown that, in addition to changing physical and chemical properties, the acylation affects how the anthocyanins are absorbed and metabolised,” Chen explains. Once acylated anthocyanins move from the upper GI tract to the colon, gut microorganisms digest them. Structural variations also affect the enzymes involved in the metabolic processes, and the absorption of anthocyanins also depends on whether they are acylated or nonacylated.