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Dietary Polyphenols Associated With Lower Mortality Risk

A long-term extensive study has been released suggesting that eating foods high in the antioxidants known as polyphenols may reduce mortality rates in older adults by up to 30%. This was the first that total urinary (TUP) concentrations of polyphenols was used as a biomarker to measure polyphenol levels, instead of relying on self-reported food questionnaires.

Participants in the study included 807 men and women over the age of 65. The researchers followed the participants over the course of 12 years, during which time they measured TUP concentrations. During that time, 274 (34%) of the participants died.

They found that people with the highest levels of dietary polyphenol intake (greater than 650 mg/day) were at a 30% lower risk of mortality than those with the lowest intake (less than 500 mg per day).

The researchers also measured total dietary polyphenol levels using self-reported questionnaires. When they looked at the mortality risk and dietary polyphenol levels gathered from the questionnaires, they found no significant differences. They stressed that this shows the importance of evaluating food intake via nutritional biomarkers.

Researchers from the University of Barcelona conducted the study. It was published in the September 2013 issue of Journal of Nutrition.

Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body that cause damage to cells and DNA. Previous studies have linked polyphenol intake with a variety of health benefits, including helping with weight management, fighting certain cancers, and reducing inflammation.

Polyphenols can be found naturally in many foods, including honey, a variety of fruits and vegetables, red wine, chocolate, tea, certain oils and a many types of grain.

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