A diet rich in flavonoids would protect against cancer and cardiovascular disease

A diet rich in flavonoids, based on foods such as apples or tea, would protect against cancer and cardiovascular disease, especially among smokers and alcoholics.

Tea, coffee, grapes, onions, apples, cocoa ... A diet based on these foods rich in flavonoids, plant pigments with anti-oxidant and anti-cancer properties, could reduce mortality and the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

This is the result of a study conducted by a team of researchers at Edith Cowan University, published in the journal Nature Communications, which shows a strong statistical association between flavonoid-rich diet and mortality reduction.

500 milligrams of dietary flavonoids per day

The researchers analyzed the eating behaviors of more than 53,000 Danes over a period of 23 years. They noticed that the mortality of those following a diet rich in flavonoids was reduced. Above all, this protective effect of plant pigments was more important for smokers or consuming more than two alcoholic beverages per day.

Participants in the study who consumed a quantity of flavonoids equal to 500 milligrams a day were the ones who remained the most healthy. "It is important to consume a wide variety of flavonoids found in different foods or beverages," says Nicola Bondonno, lead author of the study, "A diet with a cup of tea, an apple, an orange, 100 grams of blueberries and 100 grams broccoli provides a wide variety of flavonoids in excess of 500 milligrams. "

However, although the study has highlighted a correlation between flavonoid consumption and reduced mortality, the exact nature of this protective effect remains to be determined.

"The consumption of alcohol and smoking increases the inflammation of the blood vessels and reduces their functioning, which increases the risk of many diseases, explains Bondonno.The flavonoids have anti-inflammatory properties and improve the functioning of the blood vessels, which could explain why their consumption carries a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases or cancers. "

It will also be necessary to determine which cardiovascular diseases and which cancers are more likely to be avoided through the consumption of flavonoids.

In France, cardiovascular disease is the second leading cause of death (the first for women), according to the Ministry of Health. They are responsible for about 140,000 deaths a year.