The Heart Foundation supported a study of 881 elderly women (median age of 80), which found they were far less likely to have an extensive build-up of abdominal aortic calcification (AAC) if they consumed a high level of flavonoids in their diet.
AAC is the calcification of the abdominal aorta — the largest artery in the body which supplies oxygenated blood from the heart to the abdominal organs and lower limbs — and is a predictor of cardiovascular risks such as heart attack and stroke.
It has also been found to be a reliable predictor for late-life dementia. ECU Nutrition and Health Innovation Research Institute researcher and study lead Ben Parmenter said while there were many dietary sources of flavonoids, some had particularly high amounts.
“In most populations, a small group of foods and beverages — uniquely high in flavonoids — contribute the bulk of total dietary flavonoid intake,” he said.
“The main contributors are usually black or green tea, blueberries, strawberries, oranges, red wine, apples, raisins/grapes and dark chocolate.”
There are many different types of flavonoids, such as flavan-3-ols and flavonols, which the study indicated appear to also have a relationship with AAC. Study participants who had a higher intake of total flavonoids, flavan-3-ols and flavonols were 36-39 per cent less likely to have extensive AAC.