We’ve heard it before, but now a massive data analysis study has revealed that increased consumption of foods that are high in flavonoid compounds can help reduce the risk of developing cancer or heart disease, even in high-risk individuals such as heavy drinkers and smokers…
What they did
Researchers data mined the information gathered from 53,048 Danish subjects over 23 years under that country’s Diet, Cancer and Health project.They wanted to see if there was a definite connection between high-flavonoid foods and lower rates of cancer and heart disease.
What they found
Participants in the massive Danish survey consuming about 500 mg of total flavonoids each day had the lowest risk of a cancer or heart disease-related death. The protective effects of the flavonoids were observed to be particularly strong among smokers and those who consume two or more standard Alcoholic drinks a day.
“It’s important to consume a variety of different flavonoid compounds found in different plant-based foods and drinks,” says study Lead Researcher Dr. Nicola Bondonno. “This is easily achievable through the diet: one cup of Tea, one Apple, one Orange, 100g of Blueberries, and 100g of Broccoli would provide a wide range of flavonoid compounds [totalling] over 500 mg of total flavonoids.”
“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,” Bondonno says. “But it’s also important to note that flavonoid consumption does not counteract all of the increased risk 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.”
More research is needed, Bondonno observes, to determine exactly why and how flavonoid-rich foods work to protect from cancer and heart disease, but she notes that they are well-known anti-inflammatories and also improve the functioning of blood vessels – which may account for at least part of their protective effect.
Anything that points to a way to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease across whole populations is good. But I agreed that it would be interesting and profitable to continue investigations to try to determine exactly why and how the protective effect of flavonoids works. Could end up being a major breakthrough…
~ Maggie J.