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Flavonoids in the diet: A woman’s friend for healthy aging

Posted:  Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Everyone wishes to age healthy and gracefully. A balanced diet and active lifestyle have always been the best strategies to achieve this goal. It has now emerged from a latest research that ensuring a higher intake of flavonoids in the diet during middle age may boost healthy aging in women.

The findings of the study were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. According to the researchers, these results were further substantiated by studies on flavonoid-rich foods like orange, berries, onions and apples.

The researchers analysed the data of 13,818 women from the Nurses’ Health study. The participants were in their late 50s at the start of the study (1984 – 1986) and reported no chronic diseases. They were followed for a period of 15 years.

On analysing their response to the food frequency questionnaire, it was found that 1517 women survived into their 70s and satisfied the criteria of ‘healthy aging’ defined as having no major chronic disease or major impairments in cognitive or physical function and mental health. Women who reported the highest average intakes of flavones, flavonones, flavonols and anthocyanins showed significantly increased odds of healthy aging. These flavones, flavonones, flavonols and anthocyanins increased the odds by 32%, 28% 18% and 25% respectively.

Flavonoids may help reduce chronic diseases by virtue of their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Because of this property, they improve glucose metabolism, insulin resistance, as well as confer cognitive benefits by reducing neuro-inflammation.

Talking about the study, the researchers said, “Our findings suggest that intake of dietary flavonoids at midlife may be related to improved odds of overall health and wellbeing in aging. Because the avoidance of a spectrum of health conditions in aging may be more important to individuals than avoiding any single chronic disease, these findings could help in the adherence to public health recommendations regarding diet quality.”

Flavonoids have always been extolled for their anti-aging properties, but their benefit in preventing age-related chronic conditions definitely brings good news.

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