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|Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor|
What did you eat today? Most Americans would probably respond by saying a lot of processed foods and white flour, and very little fresh fruits or vegetables.
You might want to take a minute to reconsider your diet, as a recent study from researchers at the American Cancer Society suggests that eating more flavonoid rich foods could dramatically reduce your risk of stroke. Fruits, vegetables, dark chocolate, nuts, tea, and red wine are just some of the foods that can supply you with these essential nutrients.
The study, which was published in the February 2012 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, tracked the dietary intake of almost 100,000 adults with an average age of 70 over a period of 7 years. The participants filled out questionnaires regarding their medical history, lifestyle behaviors, and a 152-item food-frequency questionnaire.
The researchers then placed the participants into five groups, depending on the flavonoid levels of their food intake. They discovered that the group with highest flavonoid consumption was 18% less likely to die of heart disease or stroke when compared with the lowest consumption group. Heart disease and stroke are the causes of more than 1/3 of American deaths every year.
The researchers noted that the highest flavonoid consumption group ate 24 servings of vegetables and 20 servings of fruit weekly, making it clear that extremely high levels of fruit and vegetable consumption are not required to reap the benefits seen here.
Flavonoids are the naturally occurring antioxidants which have previously been shown to decrease inflammation, protect our DNA from damage, and improve heart and brain health by increasing blood flow. Try having fruit with yogurt for breakfast, a salad at lunch, and a glass of red wine followed by a small piece of dark chocolate at dinner to increase your flavonoid intake in a delicious way.
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