Blueberries are a rich source of polyphenols, which include anthocyanin bioactive compounds. Epidemiological evidence indicates that incorporating blueberries into the diet may lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2DM). These findings are supported by pre-clinical and clinical studies that have shown improvements in insulin resistance (i.e., increased insulin sensitivity) after obese and insulin-resistant rodents or humans consumed blueberries. Insulin resistance was assessed by homeostatic model assessment-estimated insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), insulin tolerance tests, and hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamps. Additionally, the improvements in glucose tolerance after blueberry consumption were assessed by glucose tolerance tests. However, firm conclusions regarding the anti-diabetic effect of blueberries cannot be drawn due to the small number of existing clinical studies. Although the current evidence is promising, more long-term, randomized, and placebo-controlled trials are needed to establish the role of blueberries in preventing or delaying T2DM.
Keywords: anthocyanins; berries; bilberries; blueberries; cranberries; diabetes; glucose; insulin; strawberries.