In a new study, researchers found that consuming flavonoid-rich items such as apples and tea protects against cancer and heart disease, particularly for smokers and heavy drinkers.
They analyzed data from the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health cohort that assessed the diets of 53,048 Danes over 23 years.
They found that people who habitually consumed moderate to high amounts of foods rich in flavonoids, compounds found in plant-based foods and drinks, were less likely to die from cancer or heart disease.
The research was conducted by a team from Edith Cowan University (ECU).
In the study, the team found participants consuming about 500mg of total flavonoids each day had the lowest risk of cancer or heart disease-related death.
This is easily achievable through the diet: one cup of tea, one apple, one orange, 100g of blueberries, and 100g of broccoli would provide a wide range of flavonoid compounds and over 500mg of total flavonoids.
The team says while the study found a lower risk of death in those who ate flavonoid-rich foods, the protective effect appeared to be 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.
Alcohol consumption and smoking both increase inflammation and damage blood vessels, which can increase the risk of a range of diseases.
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.
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.
But it’s also important to note that flavonoid consumption does not counteract all of the increased risks of death caused by smoking and high alcohol consumption.
By far the best thing to do for health is to quit smoking and cut down on alcohol.
The team says the next step for the research was to look more closely at which types of heart disease cancers were most protected by flavonoids.
The lead author of the study is Lead researcher Dr. Nicola Bondonno.
The study is published in Nature Communications.
Copyright © 2020 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.