The more we learn about edible plants – a category that includes nuts and cocoa as well as fruits and vegetables – the healthier they look for us. Results from a large, new study shows that flavonoids, the natural, heart-protective substances found in plants, were associated with a lower risk of heart attack and stroke in seniors.
Researchers from the American Cancer Society and Tufts University obtained diet, lifestyle and medical history via questionnaires from more than 98,000 men and women whose average age was 70. Over the next seven years, 2,771 of the study participants died of heart disease or stroke. A total of 615 of these deaths were among the men and women whose reported flavonoid intake was lowest compared to 515 deaths among those whose reported flavonoid intake was highest.
The researchers accounted for smoking, exercise habits and weight before concluding that people who obtained the most flavonoids through their diets were 18 percent less likely to die over the seven years than those who consumed the least amount of flavonoids. They noted that while the percentage difference may not appear large, it would make a considerable difference when applied to the entire population