The old saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” may have some truth to it after all. According to a new Harvard study, women who consume higher amounts of flavonoids are more likely to experience healthy aging. Flavonoids are water-soluble plant pigments found in fruits, such as apples, and other foods like vegetables, chocolate, and tea. Published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the study examined dietary data from 13,818 middle-aged women (median age of 59). The researchers then looked at which of these women aged healthily over the course of 15 years. “Aging healthily” was defined as living to be 70 years or older with no major chronic diseases and no major cognitive, physical, or mental impairments. Here’s what the researchers discovered:
Women with the highest average intakes of flavones, flavanones, anthocyanins, and flavonols—all of which are types of flavonoids— increased their chances of healthy aging by 32%, 28%, 25%, and 18% respectively, compared to those with the lowest average flavonoid intake.
Consumption of flavonoid-rich foods, in particular oranges, berries, onions, and apples, was also associated with healthy aging.
Supplements, such as bilberry extract, can also be a good source of flavonoids.
Source: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition