And The Winner Is . . .Blueberries! For a Long Life

According to Nicholas Bakalar, some fruits are better for you than others, but eating a variety is the best.

Writing at nytimes.com, Bakalar says, "Recent studies have found that eating a greater variety, but not a greater quantity, of fruit significantly reduces the risk for Type 2 diabetes." This made researchers wonder whether some fruits might have a stronger effect than others, he adds.

Tracking diet and disease prospectively over a 12-year period in more than 185,000 people, of whom 12,198 developed Type 2 diabetes, researchers found "some fruits — strawberries, oranges, peaches, plums and apricots — had no significant effect on the risk for Type 2 diabetes. But eating grapes, apples and grapefruit all significantly reduced the risk."

The big winner: blueberries, Bakalr reports. "Eating one to three servings a month decreased the risk by about 11 percent, and having five servings a week reduced it by 26 percent."

What's interesting is that diabetics are sometimes told to avoid, or limit, their fruit because of all its natural sugar. But forget about fruit juice. Substituting it for whole fruits significantly increased the risk for disease.

“Increasing whole fruit consumption, especially blueberries, apples and grapes, is important,” Bakalar quotes Dr. Qi Sun, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard and the senior author of the study. “But I don’t want to leave the impression that fruit is magic. An overall healthy lifestyle is essential too.”

So what about eating fruit if you're a diabetic?  "Some fruits do contain more sugar than others, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't eat them if you have diabetes," says Maria Collazo-Clavell, M.D. at mayoclinic.com. "But that doesn't mean you shouldn't eat them if you have diabetes. The total amount of carbohydrates affects blood sugar levels more than does the source of carbohydrates or whether the source is a starch or sugar."
So let's hear it for blueberries, which not only taste great, but are now good for you, too.  

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