Older adults who get a moderate amount of certain plant compounds in their diets are less likely to die of heart disease or stroke, a large study finds.
The research, on nearly 100,000 older U.S. adults, found that those getting the most flavonoids in their diets were less likely to die of heart disease or stroke over the next seven years than those who ate the least flavonoids.
The compounds are found in a range of plant foods, including many fruits (like berries, citrus and apples) and vegetables (like kale, spinach and broccoli), nuts, soy, dark chocolate, tea and wine.
Research shows that flavonoids have a number of benefits, including fighting inflammation and acting as antioxidants -- which means they help protect body cells from damage that may lead to chronic diseases and cancer.
In the current study, the researchers divided participants into five groups according to the amount of flavonoids in their diets.
The one-fifth with the highest flavonoid intake were 18 percent less likely to die of heart problems or stroke than the fifth with the lowest intake.