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Flavanols May Reduce Risk of Mortality From Heart Disease

Tea is one of the most commonly consumed beverages around the world, and is often the main dietary source of flavonoids and flavanols. A recent study suggests that drinking flavonol-rich tea and increasing flavanol intake from other sources may reduce the risk of atherosclerotic vascular disease mortality by up to 73%.

The researchers examined the flavonol intake of 1,063 women over the age of 75. They used the USDA Flavonoid, Flavone and Proanthocyanidin databases to assess their flavonoid intake. They focused on seven classes of flavonols: flavonols, flavan-3-ols, proanthocyandidins, flavones, flavanones, anthocyanidins, and isoflavones.

Women with the highest average intakes of flavanols were found to have a 73% lower risk of death from atherosclerotic vascular disease, compared to women with the lowest average intakes. Women with the highest intake of flavonols from tea had a 62% reduction in mortality risk and women with the highest intake of flavanols from non-tea sources had a 59% reduction.

Researchers from the University of Western Australia conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on April 29, 2013 in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Previous studies have shown that the flavanols in tea may decrease inflammation, protect our DNA from damage, and improve heart and brain health by increasing blood flow.

Foods high in flavanols include citrus fruits, grapes, strawberries, tea, cooked greens and dark chocolate, all of which are can be easily incorporated into your daily diet.

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