New Study: Flavonoid-Rich Diet Protects Against Cancer and Heart Disease
According to researchers from Edith Cowan University (ECU), consuming flavonoid-rich items, such as apples and tea, protects against cancer and heart disease, particularly for smokers and heavy drinkers.
What are flavonoids?
Flavonoids are a diverse group of plant chemicals (phytonutrients) that are found in almost all fruits and vegetables. They are responsible for the vivid colors of fruits and vegetables and have been shown in numerous studies to be powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits. One of the most commonly known flavonoids is quercetin.
A few foods that are rich in flavonoids are onions, tea, strawberries, kale, grapes, brussels sprouts, parsley and many spices. It’s important to pay attention to the way you cook and prepare your food when it comes to flavonoids. Up to 80% of some flavonoids can be lost during the cooking process! A good way to tell if your food is losing or have lost its nutrients is by its color; if its normally vivid colors start to fade after cooking or boiling, your food is losing its phytonutrients! But flavonoids can also be obtained by supplementation, which may be a good option for those struggling to get sufficient fruits and vegetables in their diet.
The researchers from the ECU’s School of Medical and Health Sciences analyzed data from the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health cohort that assessed the diets of over 53,000 Danes over 23 years. Participants consuming about 500mg of total flavonoids each day had the lowest risk of cancer or heart disease-related death.
Lead researcher Dr. Nicola Bondonno said, while the study found a lower risk of death in those who ate flavonoid-rich foods, the protective effect appeared to be the strongest for those at high risk of chronic diseases due to cigarette smoking and those who drank more than two standard alcoholic drinks a day. She explained, “These findings are important as they highlight the potential to prevent cancer and heart disease by encouraging the consumption of flavonoid-rich foods, particularly in people at high risk of these chronic diseases. By far the best thing to do for your health is to quit smoking and cut down on alcohol.