Influence of flavonoid-rich fruit and vegetable intake on diabetic retinopathy and diabetes-related biomarkers

J Diabetes Complications. Nov-Dec 2014;28(6):767-71. doi: 10.1016/j.jdiacomp.2014.06.011. Epub 2014 Jun 21.


Objective: (1) Determine the relationship between dietary flavonoid-rich fruit and vegetable consumption on diabetes-related biomarkers (e.g., HgbA1c) and diabetic retinopathy.

Methods: Data from 381 participants with diabetes from the NHANES 2003-2006 were analyzed. Blood samples were taken to measure C-reactive protein (CRP), HgbA1C, and fasting glucose and insulin. Diabetic retinopathy was assessed from a retinal imaging exam. A high-flavonoid fruit and vegetable consumption (HFVC) index variable was created from a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ).

Results: After adjustments, greater HFVC was associated (p<0.05) with lower levels of CRP (β=-0.005), HgbA1C (β=-0.005) and glucose (β=-0.59), with greater HFVC reducing the odds of having diabetic retinopathy by 30%.

Conclusion: Adults with diabetes consuming more flavonoid-rich fruits and vegetables had lower degrees of inflammation, better glycemic control, and reduced odds of diabetic retinopathy.

Keywords: Diabetic retinopathy; Flavonoid; Fruit and vegetable consumption; Glycemic control; Inflammation.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / blood*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / epidemiology
  • Diet*
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Female
  • Flavonoids / administration & dosage*
  • Fruit* / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Inflammation / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Vegetables* / chemistry


  • Biomarkers
  • Flavonoids