Eating shiny apples and drinking warm tea – both flavonoid-rich items -protects against cancer and heart disease, particularly for smokers and heavy drinkers. So even if you still like imbibe, make sure to have those two things are by your side. Of course, if you decide to cut back, they work even better when combined with moderation.
Researchers from Edith Cowan University’s School of Medical and Health Sciences analyzed the diets of 53,048 Danes over 23 years.
Those who ate a diet rich in flavonoids had a reduced risk of developing heart disease or cancer, said Dr. Nicola Bondonno, the study’s lead researcher. The results of the study were published in Nature Communications.
How it works
Flavonoids are effective for two main reasons: “[They] have been shown to be anti-inflammatory and improve blood vessel function, which may explain why they are associated with a lower death from heart disease and cancer,” said Bondonno, in a release.
And they’re particularly important for people who smoke and drink. Flavonoids especially protected the health of those who had a high risk of chronic disease from a habit of smoking cigarettes or drinking two or more alcoholic drinks daily.
“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 [smoking and drinking].
Improve your health: quit smoking and drinking, and eat exactly this much in flavonoids daily, and eat a variety of them
For optimal health, first stop smoking and cut down on drinking. “It’s 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 your health is to quit smoking and cut down on alcohol,” said Bonanno.
Then, make sure you’re getting enough flavonoids in your daily diet. Participants who consumed 500 mg of flavonoids daily had the lowest risk of death from cancer or heart disease.
Finally, make sure you’re eating a variety of foods containing flavonoids. While apples and tea are packed with flavonoids, they’re not the only types you’ll want to consume for optimal health.
“It’s important to consume a variety of total flavonoids compounds found in different plant-based food and drink,” said Bonnano. “One cup of tea, one apple, one orange, 100g of blueberries, and 100g or broccoli would provide a wide range of flavonoid compounds and over 500mg of total flavonoids.”