Who doesn’t want to live a longer life? We’ve all tried to fish out the secret to longevity. Turns out, experts have done some serious digging, and found that a plant compound can help you achieve it.
The best way to extend your life is to kick-start your day with smoothies. A bowl of smoothie works wonders for your health. Go for fresh fruits like berries, apples, kiwis, bananas; nuts like almonds, cashews, walnuts and kale, the green we worship for a healthier life.
Smoothies are full of flavonoids, a chemical that is found in most of the fruits and vegetables. New studies suggest that in addition to their ability to protect you from heart disease, they also have anti-cancer and anti-viral properties.
If you’re a chain-smoker or a heavy drinker, a good dose of flavonoids could prove to be extremely beneficial to your health. The diets of over 53,000 Danes for a period of 23 years were studied by experts in Australia's Edith Cowan University, who used this data from Denmark to arrive at a notable conclusion. They found that people with moderate to high levels of flavonoid consumption were less prone to developing cancer or heart disease. This "protective effect" was found to be more striking for smokers and drinkers who are always at a higher risk of illnesses.
Lead researcher Dr Nicola Bondonno says, "These findings are important as they highlight the potential to prevent cancer and heart disease by encouraging the consumption of flavonoid-rich foods, particularly in people at high risk of these chronic diseases.” However, enhancing flavonoid intake doesn’t necessarily guarantee lesser risk of death among smokers and drinkers.
"But it's also important to note that flavonoid consumption does not counteract all of the increased risk of death caused by smoking and high alcohol consumption," she cautions. "By far the best thing to do for your health is to quit smoking and cut down on alcohol."
Experts suggest that flavonoid-rich drinks like tea or foods like apple, and moderation in consumption could be an effective three-pronged approach to extending life. "Encouraging flavonoid consumption might be a novel way to alleviate the increased risk, while also encouraging people to quit smoking and reduce their alcohol intake," Bondonno says.
What is the ideal recipe to get a balanced intake of flavonoids? Evidence suggests 500 mg of total flavonoids is the secret to get optimum benefit and extend your life span. "It's important to consume a variety of different flavonoid compounds found in different plant-based food and drink," Bondonno explained. "This is easily achievable through the diet: one cup of tea, one apple, one orange, 100 g of blueberries, and 100 g of broccoli would provide a wide range of flavonoid compounds and over 500 mg of total flavonoids." You can go for the following items to meet your flavonoid requirement:
- A smoothie made from kale, cherries, berries, celery, and a small amount of peanut butter
- Cocoa-based chocolates
- Red wine (limited intake)
While the relationship between flavonoids and decreased risk of heart disease and cancer hasn’t been fully established, Bondonno has some views. "Alcohol consumption and smoking both increase inflammation and damage blood vessels, which can increase the risk of a range of diseases. Flavonoids have been shown to be anti-inflammatory and improve blood vessel function, which may explain why they are associated with a lower risk of death from heart disease and cancer."