Flavonoids are a group of polyphenols, phytonutrients found in most fruits and vegetables. There are more than 6,000 unique flavonoids, but as a group, they’re most well-known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and have been found to lower the risk of many chronic conditions rooted in inflammation. Anthocyanins,1 specifically — found in red-blue plant pigments that give berries and other foods their red, blue and purple color — have been shown to:
- Improve blood sugar control
- Normalize blood pressure and enhance capillary strength
- Lower oxidative stress and inflammation
- Inhibit platelet formation
- Prevent buildup of arterial plaque
- Increase NAD+ levels
Previous animal studies have shown anthocyanins reduce the production of mucus and inflammatory secretions in animals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Some of the latest research suggests the plant compound can also help slow the gradual decline in lung health associated with aging.
Anthocyanins Protect Lung Health
The study2 in question analyzed data from 463 British and Norwegian adults who participated in the second and third European Community Respiratory Health Surveys. The average age was 44. The data included dietary information and a spirometry test, which measures the volume of air you can forcefully exhale in one second (FEV1), the total volume of air you can exhale after taking a deep breath (FVC) and the ratio of the two (FEV1/FVC).
According to lead author Vanessa Garcia Larsen, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Human Nutrition Division of the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, lung function tends to peak around the age of 30, after which it starts to decline.
The rate of speed of that decline varies depending on factors such as smoking, your exercise level, exposure to pollutants and the presence of other medical conditions. Your diet also plays a significant role. Processed foods in general, and processed meats in particular, have previously been linked to a more rapid decline in lung function.3
Here, those in the highest quartile of anthocyanin intake, compared to those in the lowest quartile of intake, had a significantly reduced decline in all three lung function measurements. In the highest quartile of anthocyanin intake, FEV1 declined at an average rate of -9.8 milliliters per year (mL/yr) compared to -18.9 mL/yr for those in the bottom quartile of anthocyanin intake. FVC declined at a rate of -9.8 mL/yr compared to -22.2 mL/yr.
On average, the annual decline of FEV1/FVC among those consuming the highest amounts of anthocyanins was just -0.02 per year. No association between anthocyanin intake and lung function was found among smokers, however. According to Garcia-Larsen:4
“Our study suggests that the general population could benefit from consuming more fruits rich in these flavonoids like berries, particularly those who have given up smoking or have never smoked. For smokers, quitting remains the best thing they can do to protect their health.”
Flavonoid-Rich Diet Has Many Other Health Benefits as Well
Aside from protecting your lung function with age, polyphenols — the plant compounds that give fruits, vegetables and berries their vibrant colors — have numerous other health benefits as well. This includes lowering your risk of “middle-age spread,” the weight gain around the midsection that is so common with age.
In one study,5 which included more than 124,000 people, those with the highest flavonoid intake had the least weight gain with age. Certain types of flavonoids were more effective for weight maintenance than others, particularly after the researchers accounted for fiber intake. Anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins and total flavonoid polymers (found in tea and apples) showed the most significant effect after adjusting for fiber.
Overall, for each standard deviation above average in terms of flavonoid consumption, the study participants gained one-tenth to three-fifths of a pound less over four years. This might not sound striking, but you can consider it the icing on the cake, as this is just one of many benefits. Other health benefits associated with higher intake of flavonoids include:
Six classes of flavonoids were identified as having a significant impact on heart disease risk, namely flavonols, anthocyanidins, proanthocyanidins, flavones, flavanones and flavan-3-ols
Lower risk of erectile dysfunction among men9
Improved memory consolidation, learning and overall brain function10
The flavonoid responsible for this effect was apigenin, found in many herbs, including parsley, thyme and chamomile. Cocoa flavonoids are also associated with both cardiovascular and brain benefits.
In one study,11 those who ate dark chocolate at least once a week had better mental performance than those who did not, and previous research12 has found epicatechin in dark chocolate also helps protect your brain after a stroke by increasing cellular signals that shield nerve cells from damage.
Further, when diabetic patients were given a special high-flavonol cocoa drink for one month, it brought their blood vessel function from severely impaired to normal.13 The improvement was actually as large as has been observed with exercise and many common diabetic medications.
When mice implanted with cells of a particularly deadly, fast-growing human breast cancer were treated with the flavonoid apigenin, the cancerous growth slowed and the tumors shrank.
Apigenin may even be one reason why drinking chamomile tea has been found to reduce thyroid cancer risk by up to 80 percent.15 Interestingly, the compound was also found to bind to 160 proteins in the human body, which suggests it has far-reaching health effects.
Additionally, treatment of cells with apigenin or quercetin inhibits CD38 and promotes an increase in intracellular NAD+ levels.16 CD38 is the primary enzyme that lowers NAD+ levels, so by inhibiting it, NAD+ levels are increased.
Onions and garlic are also rich in flavonoids, including quercetin, which inhibits the growth of cancer cells. Unlike anthocyanins, which had no effect on lung function in smokers, quercetin17 has been shown to reduce the risk of lung cancer in smokers. It also reduces your risk of heart disease, lowers blood pressure, relieves symptoms of interstitial cystitis and reduces symptoms of prostatitis.
In fact, flavonoids have been said to have “the most potential of dietary components for promotion of bone healthy beyond calcium and vitamin D,” and research suggests they have a stronger association with bone health than even general fruit and vegetable consumption.19
How to Get More Flavonoids Into Your Diet
|Flavonols: Onions, apples, kale, broccoli, garbanzo beans, almonds, turnip greens, sweet potatoes, quinoa|
|Flavan-3-ols: Apples, tea (including black, green, white and oolong), blueberries, peaches, pears, strawberries, cocoa|
|Flavones: Parsley, bell peppers, celery, apples, oranges, watermelon, chili peppers, cantaloupe, thyme|
|Flavonones: Oranges, grapefruit, lemons, tomatoes|
|Anthocyanins:31 Strawberries, cherries, red cabbage, cranberries, plums, raspberries, blueberries, bilberries, black currants, purple grapes, purple potatoes|
|Quercetin: Garlic, apples, plums, red grapes, citrus fruit, dark cherries and dark berries such as blueberries, blackberries and bilberries, capers, olive oil. Small amounts also found in parsley, sage, elder flower, gingko biloba and St. John’s Wort|
|Apigenin: Celery, parsley, thyme, basil, oregano, cilantro, chamomile, broccoli, leeks|
|Epicatechin: Cocoa, dark chocolate, apples, black grapes, blackberries, black tea, cherries|
11 pounds in 22 days?
Is it REALLY possible to lose 11 lbs. of fat in 22 days? Actually yes… BUT only when you’re a level 4 fat burner. Unfortunately, most people are stuck as level 1 fat burners. So, how do you become a level 4 fat burner to lose up to 11 lbs. in 22 days? Simply eat these foods daily:
In April, 2009, researchers stunned the medical community when they reported chronic inflammation as the root cause of several major diseases.
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To begin, I apologize for the dark nature of today's email.
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Imagine a rotting corpse draped over your body from head to toe...
...suffocating tissue, restricting blood flow, damaging joints and infecting your healthy cells.
Shockingly, that nightmare is a reality for most:
64% of women and 74% of men carry too much body fat according to the National Institutes of Health.
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This "metabolic jumper cable" isn't any exercise, machine or pill.
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I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat.
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d) Hip Flexors
Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!
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Is Bread Really the Staff of Life… or the Stuff of Disease?
For most us, there are few foods more comforting than bread.
Fluffy biscuits, crusty baguettes, flaky croissants… even a simple slice of toast topped with melted butter can taste like heaven.
And that smell… few scents are quite as pleasant as fresh bread baking in the oven.
But there is a lot of confusion as to where bread fits into a healthy diet.
The Bible practically commands followers to eat it: “Give us this day our daily bread…” The government put it at the base of the food pyramid. And for centuries, it has been called “the staff of life.”
Of course, there are some who disagree…
Well-known cardiologist, Dr. William Davis, calls wheat “the perfect chronic poison.”
And for a poison, we sure eat lots of it…
The average American consumes 55 pounds of wheat flour every year, making refined flour the #1 source of calories in the American Diet – a situation that nutrition expert Chris Kresser describes as, “a public health catastrophe.”
So, what is the truth about bread and wheat?
- Is it the perfect poison… or an essential daily food?
- Is “gluten-free” bread better for you than regular bread?
- And can you still eat bread… while maintaining a lean body and optimal health?
The answers to these questions may surprise you!
Be sure to read #5 – the biggest surprise of all!
Recently, Doctor of Naturopathy, weight-loss expert and best-selling Amazon author Liz Swann Miller, creator of the Red Smoothie Detox Factor, revealed 2 of the secrets to easy, steady weight loss. Secrets the big food corporations do their best to hide from us.
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You probably know most of us eat too much processed food. What you may not know is that it’s full of toxic chemicals and substandard, dirt-cheap ingredients designed to make you eat more…and force you to gain weight.
Here’s how it works.
“That stuff is just a lot of calories your body can’t use,” Liz told me, “Some are poison. And all these foods are stripped of the anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories that help your body detox. The result? Your body expends huge amounts of calories to eliminate some toxins—the rest, it stores in your fat to protect you. This is why most people are hungry all the time. They’re not getting energy they need.”
“So… what’s going on with me? Why am I losing weight but not going hungry?”
Liz paused, then dropped the bombshell.
Your body is designed to burn fat. You just have to let it.
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- Which calories help you lose weight…and which ones help you gain it…
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Sponsored Health Resources
In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.
NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!
1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…
2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.
3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!
5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!
6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.
7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.
Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.