Consumption of flavonoid-rich foods such as tea and apples protect against cancer and heart disease, in particular for heavy drinkers and smokers, according to new research.
People who ate more flavonoid-rich foods were less likely to die of heart disease and cancer, as compared to those who ate fewer foods, according to a new report that was published in the journal Nature Communications.
The protective effects of flavonoids are strong for individuals who smoke or heavily use alcohol, as per the study led by researchers from Edith Cowan University in Australia.
The findings come from an analysis of the diets that were consumed by more than 53,000 Danish people over a 23-year period.
Nicola Bondonno, PhD, a postdoctoral research fellow from Edith Cowan University and also the lead researcher of the study, said that the findings should encourage people to eat more fruits and vegetables, most especially if they have a high risk for heart disease and cancer.
Past research estimated 7.8 million people worldwide die prematurely yearly due to low vegetable and fruit consumption. That is defined as eating less than 800 grams total daily.
“The best thing to do for your health is to cut down on alcohol and not smoke,”. “But these kind of lifestyle changes can be very challenging, therefore, encouraging flavonoid consumption might be a novel way to alleviate the increased risk, while also encouraging people to reduce their alcohol intake and quit smoking.”
Getting Your Daily Dose of Flavonoids:
The study reported that consuming about 500 milligrams (mg) of flavonoids everyday seemed to provide the greatest protection against disease. No added protection against all-cause mortality or heart disease was observed for moderate drinkers and non-smokers who consumed a higher level of flavonoids.
But, protection against cancer seemed to increase for up to 1,000 mg of flavonoids consumed daily. “These levels exist well within the daily dietary achievable limits,” the study noted.
“This is a remarkable study that contains very convincing evidence that what we consume can improve health outcomes, something we intuitively know,” according to Dr. William Li, author of the book “Eat to Beat Disease: The New Science of How Your Body Can Heal Itself” and president of the Angiogenesis Foundation, as per Healthline. “Flavonoids can play a much more powerful role in nutrition than we thought.”
According to Dr. Bondonno, while the research had provien a relationship between lower risk of death and flavonoid consumption, the exact nature of the protective effect was unclear but likely to be multifaceted.
“Alcohol consumption and smoking both damage blood vessels and increase inflammation, which can increase the risk of a range of diseases,” she said.
“Flavonoids have been shown to be anti-inflammatory and improve blood vessel function, which may explain why they are associated with a lower risk of death from heart disease and cancer..”
According to Dr. Bondonno the next step for the research was to examine more closely which types of heart disease and cancers were most protected by flavonoids.
‘Flavonoid intake is linked with lower mortality in the Danish Diet Cancer and Health Cohort‘ was published today (13 August) in Nature Communications.
The ECU study was a collaboration with researchers from the Aarhus University, Herlev & Gentofte University Hospital, as well as Aalborg University Hospital, the Danish Cancer Society Research Centre, the Universities of Western Australia and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
- Research Says – Eating Nuts Reduces Risk of Stroke and Heart Attack
- 7 Worst Health Advice You Should Never Follow
- 9 Surprising Things That Lead to Heart Disease