Pictured: Soothing Ginger-Lemon Tea
You have heard how important it is to eat your fruits and vegetables, and as nutrition research progresses, we are getting more of a glimpse into why. A recent study found that flavonoids, a plant-based compound, can be protective against cancer and heart disease. Many cozy, fall favorites, like tea and apples, are rich in flavonoids, so this research comes at the perfect time.
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A Danish study recently published in Nature Communications explored how plant-based foods can reduce your risk for chronic disease. Flavonoids are a type of antioxidant found in many plant foods. They have been linked with health benefits in the past, but studies about their effect on cancer and other lifestyle risk factors is scarce. This study followed 56,048 Danes for 23 years to see how their flavonoid intake impacted their health.
Their findings are encouraging for apple and tea lovers, to say the least. Regular intake of a moderate amount of flavonoids (around 500mg a day) was inversely related to cardiovascular and cancer related deaths. To take it a step further, these beneficial effects were even stronger for those who smoke and consumed high amounts of alcohol, over two drinks a day. Needless to say, very few things reduce your risk of chronic disease as much as quitting smoking or reducing alcohol consumption and this is not a quick fix for habits that are damaging to your health. However, it provides a great way to reduce your risk for chronic diseases—cancer and heart disease in particular.
So what does 500mg of flavonoids a day actually look like? Here is list of foods that have at least 500mg of flavonoids:
- One cup of tea
- One apple
- One orange
- 1/2 cup of blueberries
- 1/2 cup of broccoli
- About 2 glasses of red wine (about 200mg per glass, 800mg per bottle)
Also, dark chocolate happens to be a delicious source of flavonoids. Unfortunately, you would have to eat over a whole chocolate bar to get to 500mg. But a little bit of chocolate here and there can help you get your flavonoid fix. There are many delicious and healthy ways to meet your flavonoid recommendations every day. Enjoying a variety of fruits and vegetables, with an afternoon tea and occasional glass of wine will help you follow a flavonoid-rich diet to prevent heart disease and cancer.