A team of researchers from the University of Valparaiso carried out a study that concluded that the consumption of fresh blueberries provides relevant benefits in the glycemic control of young but sedentary people.
The study, published in Nutrients, states that blueberries are fruits rich in polyphenols with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Blueberry polyphenols work by blocking digestive enzymes, remodeling the gastrointestinal microbiota pathways, and affecting the release of gastrointestinal hormones to regulate insulin dynamics and glucose management. The research team evaluated the postprandial glucose management and antioxidant capacity of fresh blueberries consumed acutely or as a supplement.
"We tested two ideas: the effect of a single serving of blueberries together with a high carbohydrate intake, and also the effect of consuming an equal portion of the same fruit for six days,” stated researcher Ximena Palma, Master in Biological Sciences and Nutrition. The results of the study indicated that the consumption of fresh blueberries improves glucose management after meals (postprandial), presumably due to actions in the gastrointestinal tract, while supplementation improves insulin sensitivity, probably due to antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects.
According to Dr. Gonzalo Cruz, who directs the Reproductive and Metabolic Alterations Laboratory of the Center for Neurobiology and Integrative Physiopathology (CENFI), it's important to consume foods rich in polyphenols due to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect and their content of dietary fiber. "Polyphenols can block carbohydrate-digesting enzymes. Thus, it would be preferable to consume them before carbohydrates or perhaps at the same time to improve glycemic control. The study shows that the consumption of a cup of berries manages to reduce the increase in glucose that is observed when consuming white bread."
"At lunchtime, you could also eat vegetables and salads before the main course to take advantage of their nutrients and to achieve the effect produced by polyphenols on glycemia. Or you could eat blueberries for dessert, but before lunch."
"It's surprising that a single serving of 150 grams of blueberries was responsible for reducing the lower area of the postprandial glucose curve and increasing insulin secretion after fifteen minutes of intake. In other words, it produced an acute or immediate response to metabolic parameters that are extremely important in glycemic control," stated Samanta Thomas, a Ph.D. in Research and Development of Bioactive Products.