Around 1.2 million Australians have type 2 diabetes, which is characterised by persistent hyperglycaemia, insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia. It costs the Australian economy $10 billion annually.
Researchers have highlighted the benefits of a Mediterranean diet in the management of type 2 diabetes, but the contribution of citrus fruit – including oranges, mandarins, grapefruit and lemons – has not been explored.
These fruits contain citrus bioflavonoids, which are known to improve blood flow and reduce inflammation.
In a paper published in Nutrients, Associate Professor Hayder Al-Aubaidy and colleagues developed a new procedure to assess citrus bioflavonoids in blood samples.
They then measured the effect of citrus bioflavonoids on inflammation and oxidative stress in blood plasma collected from people with type 2 diabetes, who were on Mediterranean diet intervention program for 12 weeks.
The researchers found that the type 2 diabetes patients had, following a Mediterranean diet, higher levels of citrus bioflavonoids in their blood, along with reduced inflammation and oxidative stress.
“Our findings add to the evidence base for the beneficial consumption of citrus fruit and citrus bioflavonoids supplements, as a way for people with type 2 diabetes to improve their glycaemic index,” Al-Aubaidy says.
“And, the principles of the Mediterranean diet help to achieve this.”