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May 2024
Volume 24 Issue 3

Jun 2023 | Health | 0 comments

How Flavonol-Rich Foods Like Apples and Blackberries Keep You Strong As You Age

Health | 0 comments

June 2023

Apples are one of the foods rich in a compound known as flavonol. In a study published today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers reported that a higher intake of flavonols was associated with lower odds of developing frailty.

The Power of Flavonols

“There may be some validity to the old saying, an apple a day keeps the doctor (or frailty) away,” the authors said in a press statement. “Our findings suggest that for every 10 mg higher intake of flavonols per day, the odds of frailty were reduced by 20 percent. Individuals can easily consume 10 mg of flavonols intake per day since one medium sized apple has about 10 mg of flavonols,” they added.

Flavonols are a naturally occurring compound found in fruits and vegetables. Sources of flavonols include berries, onions, peaches, tomatoes and kale. Flavonols can also be found in dark chocolate, tea and red wine.

Flavonols and Frailty Prevention

The researchers reported that food such as blackberries and apples that contain a type of flavonoid known as quercetin may be particularly important in preventing frailty. “Although there was no significant association between total flavonoid intake and frailty, higher flavonols intake (one of the subclasses of flavonoids) was associated with lower odds of developing frailty. Specifically, higher quercetin intake was the flavonoid that had the strongest association with frailty prevention. This data suggests that there may be particular subclasses of flavonoids that have the most potential as a dietary strategy for frailty prevention,” the researchers said.

Understanding Frailty

Frailty is a geriatric syndrome that can lead to a greater risk of hospitalization, disability, falls, fractures, and mortality. Prevalence of frailty increases with age, with approximately 10% of people over the age of 65 impacted. The Fried frailty phenotype is a tool used to assess a person’s frailty through five criteria that include weight loss that is unintentional, poor handgrip strength or weakness, self-reported exhaustion, low physical activity, and a slow walking speed.

Diet and Frailty

While numerous factors can contribute to frailty, is believed to play an important role. “Diet can have a significant impact on frailty. Protein is especially important to maintain strength and prevent sarcopenia (muscle loss) that can cause frailty. Vitamin D and calcium are important to keep bones strong and prevent fractures,” Wright said. Eating enough calories and ensuring adequate nutrient intake is also important.

Advice for Healthy Aging

While it is never too late to make changes that can contribute to healthy aging, the experts advised making healthy changes to diet should be considered well before entering older age. “We should all be looking at nutrition over the life course and think about ways to keep ourselves healthy long term. Nutrition is a long-term thing,” Hunnes said. “We don’t just become healthy the moment we change our diet, it can take weeks, months, or years to see benefit or detriment. So, I think we should be thinking about healthy eating for as much of our lives as possible.”

–– Elizabeth Pratt

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