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Polyphenols for Longer Life?

Oct 24, 2013

Remember polyphenols, the naturally occurring compounds found largely in fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, nuts, legumes and cereals? With antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic properties, polyphenols offer many health benefits.

New research published in the Journal of Nutrition looked at the effect of polyphenol consumption on longevity. The study found that mortality was 30% lower in older adults who ate polyphenol-rich diets (>650 mg/day) than in those whose polyphenol intake was not as high (<500 mg/day).

The research was based on a 12-year follow-up of a population sample composed of 807 men and women aged 65 or over from Greve and Bagno, both in Tuscany, Italy, within the InCHIANTI study. Researchers from the University of Barcelona, in Barcelona, Spain, analyzed the effect of polyphenol-rich diets by means of a nutritional biomarker—the total urinary polyphenol (TUP) concentration—as a proxy measure of intake.

Raúl Zamora Ros, lead author of the study, pointed out that “results corroborate scientific evidence suggesting that people consuming diets rich in fruit and vegetables are at lower risk of several chronic diseases and overall mortality.”

The research is the first to evaluate the total dietary polyphenol intake by using a nutritional biomarker and not just a food frequency questionnaire. Professor Cristina Andrés Lacueva, head of the Biomarkers and Nutritional & Food Metabolomics Research Group of the University of Barcelona and coordinator of the study, explained that “the development and use of nutritional biomarkers enables you to make a more precise and, particularly, more objective estimation of intake, as it is not only based on participants’ memory when answering a questionnaire.”

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