The key to enjoying better health late in life is flavonoids, which are naturally occurring substances found in many common foods and beverages such as black and green tea, apples, nuts, citrus fruit, berries and more.
The Heart Foundation supported a study of 881 elderly women, which found they were far less likely to have extensive build-up of abdominal aortic calcification (AAC) if they consumed a high level of flavonoids in their diet.
It has also been found to be a reliable predictor for late-life dementia.
ECU Nutrition and Health Innovation Research Institute researcher and study lead Ben Parmenter said while there were many dietary sources of flavonoids, some had particularly high amounts.
“The main contributors are usually black or green tea, blueberries, strawberries, oranges, red wine, apples, raisins/grapes and dark chocolate.”
There are many different types of flavonoids, such as flavan-3-ols and flavonols, which the study indicated appear to also have a relationship with AAC.
Study participants who had a higher intake of total flavonoids, flavan-3-ols and flavonols were 36-39 per cent less likely to have extensive AAC.
Black tea was the study cohort’s main source of total flavonoids and was also associated with significantly lower odds of extensive AAC.
Though black tea was the main source of flavonoids in the study Mr Parmenter said people could still benefit from flavonoids without putting the kettle on.
“Out of the women who don’t drink black tea, higher total non-tea flavonoid intake also appears to protect against extensive calcification of the arteries,” he said.
“This implies flavonoids from sources other than black tea may be protective against AAC when tea is not consumed.”
Mr Parmenter said this was important as it allows non-tea drinkers to still benefit from flavonoids in their diet.
“AAC is a major predictor of vascular disease events, and this study shows intake of flavonoids, that could protect against AAC, are easily achievable in most people’s diets.”
Benjamin H. Parmenter, Catherine P. Bondonno, Kevin Murray, John T. Schousboe, Kevin Croft, Richard L. Prince, Jonathan M. Hodgson, Nicola P. Bondonno, Joshua R. Lewis. Higher Habitual Dietary Flavonoid Intake Associates With Less Extensive Abdominal Aortic Calcification in a Cohort of Older Women. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, 2022; 42 (12): 1482 DOI: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.122.318408
Edith Cowan University. “Put the kettle on! How black tea (and other favorites) may help your health later in life.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 November 2022. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/11/221122111507.htm>.
Photo by Akhilesh Sharma