New Research Says There’s an Easy and Pleasant Way to Reduce Risk of Cancer & Heart Disease

Photo: Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash

Participants in an international study who consumed about 500mg of total flavonoids each day had the lowest risk of a cancer or heart disease-related death.

“It’s important to consume a variety of different flavonoid compounds found in different plant-based food and drink,” said Dr. Nicola Bondonno, who led the study at Australia’s Edith Cowan University.

“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 and over 500mg of total flavonoids,” she said.

The results, published this week in the journal Nature Communications, came from assessing the diets of 53, 048 Danes over 23 years who participated in the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health study.

Dr. Bondonno also said that while the study found a lower risk of death in those who ate flavonoid-rich foods, the protective effect appeared to be strongest for people at high risk of chronic diseases due to cigarette smoking and those who drank more than two standard alcoholic drinks a day.

“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,” she said.

“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.”

While the research had established an association between flavonoid consumption and lower risk of death, Dr. Bondonno explained, the exact nature of the protective effect was unclear but likely to be multifaceted.

Flavonoids, which are  found in plant-based food and drinks, “have been shown to be anti-inflammatory and improve blood vessel function, which may explain why they are associated with a lower risk of death from heart disease and cancer,” she said.

Among the foods rich in flavonoids:

Apples, berries, teas (especially white, green and oolong), cocoa-based products with high cocoa content, red and blue grapes, red wine, onions, scallions, kale, broccoli, parsley, thyme, celery, hot peppers, citrus fruit and juices, soy beans, soy foods, legumes.

It’s important to eat a variety because there are six different categories of dietary flavonoids that are important for health, advises the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.


7 Foods for Your Diabetes-Fighting Diet

7 Foods for Feeling Better When You Have Arthritis