Do you want to live a long and healthy life, keeping cardiovascular disease and dementia at bay? Then don't miss out on flavonoids, which are antioxidant substances found in some foods and drinks. This emerges from a very recent scientific research that appeared in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology thanks to the work of an Australian team from Edith Cowan University (Parmenter et al, Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, 2022).
Flavonoids, elixir of life
The elixir of life are flavonoids, which are antioxidant substances found in green and black tea, apples, walnuts, citrus fruits and berries. Flavonoids counteract aging processes and cellular degeneration and this fact was already known thanks to previous studies. Now, thanks to the new study, we know that the action of flavonoids is even more powerful than previously thought. But let's try to understand better.
How flavonoids protect the heart and brain, the study
The researchers recruited 881 women, average age 80 years. The study participants were subjected to questionnaires to evaluate their intake of flavonoids from the diet. In addition to this, the volunteers underwent medical examinations in order to evaluate the health of the abdominal aorta and if there were any calcifications. The abdominal aorta is the main artery in our body and, starting from the heart, it carries oxygen-rich blood to the abdominal organs and lower limbs. Its calcification is considered an important indicator of cardiovascular risk and the possibility of developing heart attacks and strokes. Not only that, the calcification of the abdominal aorta is considered a factor capable of reliably predicting the development of dementia over the years. The study specifically investigated the effect of black tea, the main source of flavonoids, on abdominal artery health. What emerged is that those who consume 2 to 6 cups of black tea per day are up to 42% less likely to have extensive calcification of the abdominal aorta, compared to those who do not drink black tea and do not obtain flavonoids from diet. What if you don't like black tea? Don't worry, you don't have to become a big drinker of this drink to reap the benefits of flavonoids. The study also observed that, in a subgroup of non-tea drinker group, the intake of other foods containing flavonoids, such as apples, green tea, nuts, citrus fruits and berries, showed similar protection at the level of the aorta. Instead, fruit juices, chocolate and red wine, which are still sources of flavonoids, did not show protection of the aorta.
A healthy and varied diet that includes black and green tea, citrus fruits, apples, nuts and berries counteracts aging processes and has a measurable beneficial effect on the heart, blood vessels and even on the brain, by reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke and dementia.