Certain flavanol-rich foods, such as apples and blackberries, may reduce the risk of frailty

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Fact verified by Nick Blackmer

  • New research has found that eating foods high in flavonols may reduce the risk of frailty as a person ages.

  • Frailty often includes symptoms such as unintentional weight loss, decreased strength, and decreased energy.

  • Experts recommend patients focus on a colorful diet, to absorb a variety of plant nutrients like flavonol.

A new study has found that eating fruits and vegetables containing flavonols may reduce your risk of developing frailty as you age.

About 10% to 15% of older people experience frailty as they age. Frailty is considered a geriatric syndrome that includes symptoms such as unintentional weight loss, decreased strength, decreased energy and fatigue, slower walking speed, reduced mobility and decrease in physical activity.

The disease can lead to an increased risk of falls, fractures, disability, hospitalization and death.

“The prevalence of frailty varies depending on the definition and measurement used and it is important to note that frailty can also occur in young adults with certain underlying health conditions,” said Jessica Hulsey, RD , LD. Health. “The diagnosis of frailty occurs when an individual exhibits three of the qualifying symptoms.”

The study results suggest that consuming just 10 mg of flavonols may be beneficial in reducing the risk of frailty by 20%.

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What is flavonol?

Flavonoids are a class of naturally occurring plant pigments with various health benefits found in fruits, vegetables, and some beverages like tea and wine. Flavonols are a class of flavonoids known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, and antimicrobial properties.

“They include compounds like quercetin, kaempferol, and myricetin, while flavonoids encompass a broader range of compounds like anthocyanins, flavones, and flavanols,” Hulsey explained.

Flavonols are found in a variety of fruits, such as apples, grapes, and berries, and vegetables, such as onions, kale, and spinach. They’re also found in perhaps surprising foods like green tea and unsweetened cocoa.

“Because flavonoids can attenuate age-related oxidative stress buildup by reactive oxygen species and some flavonoids even target the elimination of age-related senescent cells, they have a role in reduction of inflammation and consequent development of frailty,” Shivani Sahni, PhD, one of the study authors and expert on the role of nutritional factors on chronic diseases of aging said. Health.

Oxidative stress increases with age and is induced by mitochondrial dysfunction and inflammation. Over time, continued oxidative stress generates reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species, causing oxidation of proteins and nucleic acids and eventual cell death.

Sahni pointed out how flavonoids are valuable sources of bioactive compounds with antioxidant properties that can help delay this process.

Related: The 9 Best Anti-Aging Night Creams of 2023

Focus on quercetin

Specifically, a flavonol called quercetin may reduce your risk of frailty later in life.

Quercetin is widely distributed in fruits, vegetables and grains and is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

“Quercetin is one of the most studied flavonols that is being tested for its benefits in protecting against chronic age-related diseases,” said Courtney Millar, PhD, one of the study’s authors. Health. “Major food sources include apples, citrus fruits, tea, red wine, and dark berries such as blackberries.”

Not only are quercetin and other flavonoids linked to reduced frailty and age-related decline, but they are also associated with many other health benefits.

“Flavonoids have been linked to better cardiovascular health, reduced risk of certain cancers, and improved cognitive function,” Hulsey added. “They also have potential benefits for managing conditions like diabetes.”

“Further research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms and draw firm conclusions regarding the impact of flavonoids on frailty and other health outcomes,” she said.

Although the study determined that there was no statistically significant association between flavonoid intake and the onset of frailty, it did determine that each daily intake of 10 mg of flavonol was related a 20% reduction in the risk of developing frailty in the elderly.

In addition, every 10 mg per day of quercetin intake was associated with a 35% decrease in the risk of onset of frailty.

Add flavonol to your diet

If you’re looking to boost your flavonol intake, adding 10mg to your diet may be easier than you think. For example, a medium-sized apple contains about 10 mg of flavonols. Different fruits and vegetables contain a variety of flavanol subclasses.

Consuming a variety of these types of foods can help ensure that you are eating all the different types of flavonols to help prevent disease.

To increase your flavonoid intake, you can incorporate dietary strategies, such as including a variety of fruits and vegetables in your meals and snacks. Foods particularly high in quercetin include citrus fruits, sage, tea, red wine, olive oil, grapes, dark cherries, and dark berries like blueberries and blackberries.

“Try to have a mix of colorful options to ensure a diverse range of nutrients, including quercetin,” Hulsey suggested. “You can also experiment with recipes that include quercetin-rich herbs and spices like parsley, dill, and cilantro.”

On the same subject: Can we eat too much fruit?

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