Flavonoid-rich diet promotes healthy ageing

Including flavanoid-rich foods such as fruit and vegetables in middle-age promotes healthy ageing

A diet brimming with flavonoid-rich foods may help to promote healthy ageing in middle-aged women according to the results of a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

In the new study, researchers analysed data from 13,818 women in their late fifties

The women were monitored for an average of 15 years using food frequency questionnaires and had no chronic diseases at the start of the study. 

A total of 1,517 women survived into their 70’s and met the criteria for healthy ageing. 

Results showed that women with the highest dietary intakes of flavones, flavanones, anthocyanins, and flavanols had significantly greater chances of healthy ageing, with dietary flavones having the most significant influence of all.

Much research has uncovered the health benefits of the inclusion of flavonoid-rich foods in the diet, with data supporting potential antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and their ability to improve glucose metabolism, insulin resistance and cognitive benefits too.

The researchers commented;

“Flavonoids may contribute to reducing chronic diseases and maintaining physical, cognitive, and mental health with ageing via their potential to decrease oxidative stress and inflammation, which are two general pathways underlying many age-related chronic disease and health condition.”

“Our findings suggest that dietary intake of dietary flavonoids at midlife may be related to improved odds of overall health and wellbeing in ageing.”

Flavonoids are phytonutrients in plant foods, which often contribute to the bright colour and pigment of plant foods. 

For example, many berries (red, purple, blue) are rich in flavonoids, as are citrus fruits (yellow, orange) and brightly coloured vegetables

Red wine, some herbs and spices and also cocoa are all rich in flavonoids too.

Samieri, C, Sun, Q et al. Dietary flavonoid intake at midlife and healthy ageing in women.  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.085605

Posted: Nov 25, 2014