An analysis of the Nurses’ Health Study II found that women who consumed the most flavonoid-rich tea, red wine, peppers, blueberries and strawberries, were less likely to die during the 18-year study.
Flavonoids are plant compounds found in fruits, vegetables, red wine, and tea. Diets rich in these antioxidants have been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and diabetes.
The Nurses’ Health Study II followed 93,145 young and middle-aged women from 1991 – 2007. Over the course of the study, 1,808 participants died; the majority from cancer (47%), followed by cardiovascular disease (10%). Women were free of myocardial infarction, angina, stroke and cancer at the onset of the study. They completed a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire every 4 years.
Women with the most flavonoid-rich diet had a 19% lower risk of death from all causes compared to non-consumers. Those who frequently ate strawberries and blueberries had a lower risk of dying from cancer specifically. Since cancer was the biggest contributor to mortality, the protective effect of the berries is particularly significant.
Ivey, K.L., Jensen, M.K., Hodgson, J.M., Eliassen, A.H., Cassidy, A., & Rimm, E.B. (2017). Association of flavonoid-rich foods and flavonoids with risk of all-cause mortality. British Journal of Nutrition. doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007114517001325