Women in midlife can raise their chances of staying healthy past 70 by increasing their intake of foods rich in flavonoids, says new research.
Flavonoids are plant-based compounds with powerful antioxidant properties and are found in many fruits and vegetables (berries, grapes, oranges, onions, celery, to name a few). Dietary flavonoids have been linked to lower risk of various chronic diseases, but prior to this study, researchers were unclear whether flavonoid intake in midlife could help to maintain good health and well-being in later years.
Researchers defined healthy aging as survival to ≥70 years with no major chronic diseases or major impairments in cognitive or physical function or mental health. The study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that women whose flavonoid intakes at midlife fell in the highest 20% had a greater likelihood of healthy aging than women in the lowest 20%.
Specifically, women with the highest intakes of flavones, flavanones, anthocyanins and flavanols had greater odds of healthy aging than those with the lowest intakes. In a separate analysis of each component of healthy aging, higher flavone and flavanone intakes were significantly associated with better mental health and physical function.
The results of this study indicate that a higher intake of flavonoids at midlife, specifically flavones (parsley, celery, citrus peels); flavanones (oranges); anthocyanins (berries); and flavanols (onions, broccoli) are associated with greater odds of health and well-being in adults surviving to older ages.Resource: IDEA Fitness Journal