The red, purple and blue pigments in fruits, vegetables and tubers may reduce the risk of diabetes, a recent Finnish study shows. The purple pigments, called anthocyanins, affect energy metabolism, the gut microbiome, and inflammation. The positive effect of anthocyanins on type 2 diabetes is particularly high in certain vegetables. These include purple potatoes, purple sweet potatoes, radishes, purple carrots and red cabbage.
Blueberries, blackberries and mulberries are also dark purples, but they chemically lack a so-called acyl group, so their effect is smaller. The researchers managed to show this difference between purple fruits and vegetables.
“The genotype of the plant determines what kind of anthocyanins it produces. In general, purple vegetables contain many acylated anthocyanins. In addition, purple potatoes, especially the Finnish variety called ‘Synkeä Sakari,’ are rich in acylated anthocyanins,” says study author Kang Chen of the Department of Food Science at the University of Turku in Finland.
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