Washington [US]Nov. 23 (ANI): A daily cup of tea can help you enjoy better health in your late years, but if you don’t drink tea, there are other things you can add to your diet.
The key is flavonoids, which are naturally occurring substances found in many common foods and drinks, such as black and green tea, apples, nuts, citrus fruits, berries, and more.
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They have long been known to have many health benefits – however, new research from Edith Cowan University (ECU) shows that they may be even better for us than previously thought.
The Heart Foundation supported a study of 881 older women (median age 80) that found they were significantly less likely to develop extensive abdominal aortic calcification (AAC) if they consumed high levels of flavonoids in their diet.
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AAC is calcification of the abdominal aorta – the body’s largest artery that supplies oxygenated blood from the heart to the abdominal organs and lower limbs – and is a predictor of cardiovascular risk such as heart attack and stroke.
It has also been found to be a reliable predictor of late-life dementia.
ECU Nutrition and Health Innovation Research Institute researcher and research leader Ben Parmenter said that while there are many dietary sources of flavonoids, some have particularly high amounts.
“In most populations, a small group of foods and beverages – extremely rich in flavonoids – make up the bulk of total dietary flavonoid intake,” he said.
“The main ingredients are usually black or green tea, blueberries, strawberries, oranges, red wine, apples, raisins/grapes and dark chocolate.”
There are many different types of flavonoids, such as flavan-3-ols and flavonols, which research has shown appear to be related to AAC.
Study participants who had higher intakes of all flavonoids, flavan-3-ols and flavonols were 36-39 percent less likely to experience extensive AAC.
Black tea was the primary source of all flavonoids in the study cohort and was also associated with significantly lower odds of extensive AAC.
Compared to respondents who didn’t drink tea, participants who drank two to six cups a day were 16-42 percent less likely to have extensive AAC.
However, some other dietary sources of flavonoids, such as fruit juices, red wine, and chocolate, have not shown a significant beneficial association with AAC.
Although black tea was the main source of flavonoids in the study – likely due to the age of the participants – Parmenter said people could still reap the benefits of the flavonoids without turning on the kettle.
“Of women who don’t drink black tea, higher total intake of non-tea flavonoids also appears to protect against extensive calcification of the arteries,” he said.
“This means that flavonoids from sources other than black tea may protect against AAC when the tea is not consumed.”
Parmenter said this is important because it allows non-tea drinkers to still benefit from flavonoids in their diet.
“In other populations or groups of people, such as young men or people from other countries, black tea may not be the main source of flavonoids,” he said.
“AAC is a major predictor of vascular disease events, and this study shows that flavonoid intakes that may protect against AAC are readily available in most people’s diets.” (OR)
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