Published on September 17, 2022 by AliveCor India

Would Flavanol Rich Diet Prevent Heart Disease?

With the rising risk of heart disease in India, people are taking every precaution to avoid it. While some factors, such as genetics, cannot be avoided, certain lifestyle changes can reduce your chances.

A new study published in the journal Nature Communications found that eating a diet high in flavonoids, compounds found in plant-based foods and drinks can lower your risk of dying from heart disease.

Researchers discovered that people who consumed “moderate” amounts of flavonoid-rich foods regularly had a lower risk of dying from heart disease or cancer. Researchers discovered that the effect peaked at around 500 milligrammes per day.

The study also discovered a strong link between regular flavonoid consumption, smoking, and alcohol consumption. People who were at a high risk of developing chronic diseases as a result of smoking and consuming more than two alcoholic drinks per day appeared to benefit the most from eating flavonoid-rich foods.

What exactly are flavonoids?

Flavonoids are a class of compounds that can be found in a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, grains, bark, roots, stems, flowers, tea, and wine. Flavonoids are well-known for their anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties, as well as their antioxidant properties.

Flavonoids are also a subclass of polyphenols, a group of plant compounds linked to a variety of health benefits, including a lower risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.

Consumption of Flavanols and Coronary Heart Disease

Hertog et al Zutphen’s study found a significant inverse relationship between total flavonoid intake and coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality in elderly men over a five-year follow-up period. Hertog et al. also found that early high flavonoid intake reduced CHD mortality over a 25-year period in 16 cohorts from seven countries.

Other studies, however, have failed to find a link between dietary flavonoids and mortality. Studies on specific foods high in flavonoids, primarily tea, have found a link between consumption and a lower risk of myocardial infarction. Unfortunately, there is a scarcity of epidemiological data on any potential cardiovascular benefits associated with flavanols.

What are the best foods high in flavonoids?

Many fruits and vegetables are high in flavonoids, but nutritionists say the following are among the best flavonoid-rich foods and beverages to consume: Tea (particularly green tea), dark chocolate (85% cacao or higher), berries, apples, citrus fruits, asparagus, leafy greens, and red wine

In general, fruits and vegetables with a lot of colour contain flavonoids, so keep that in mind if you don't feel like checking the amount of flavonoids in your food every time you eat (think: blueberries, oranges, and spinach). However, onions and garlic also contain the compounds.

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