A new observational study argues that high flavonoid consumption is inversely correlated with mortality, especially among smokers and alcoholics. Unfortunately, the study can not lead to a causal relationship.

The flavonoids are a family of protective compounds found mostly in tea, chocolate and fruits and vegetables. Despite evidence on their preventive potential in certain diseases in vitro, in vivo (in animals) and in short-term randomized controlled trials in humans, there are gaps in epidemiological evidence. This new study brings a statistical association solid based on the observation of over 56,000 Danes for 23 years.

Flavonoids and mortality

In this study, we learn that a moderate consumption of dietary flavonoids is inversely correlated with all-cause mortality, particularly with regard to the occurrence of Cancer and cardiovascular events. Above 500 milligrams a day, the benefits become little visible. This inverse relationship is even stronger and linear in smokers and the big consumers ofalcohol – more than 20 grams per day Analyzes also show that large consumers of flavonoids also consume more fiber, less red meat and processed meat. Finally, the study also comes up against the way food data has summer recovered (questionnaire of frequency food) often subject to many biases.

Flavonoids are a family of protective compounds found mostly in tea, cocoa and plants. © Samer Daboul, Pexels

Flavonoids, matrix effect and lifestyle

Like any good observational study, the latter comes up against the complexity of reality. Indeed, we might as well conclude that this is the high consumption of plants in all their complexity thanks to their matrix effect. The matrix effect of a food is a concept that echoes the complexity of the food, that is to say, all its compounds, which connects them within the food, which therefore modulates the bioavailability and global action on the body. It seems that the only real advice that can be drawn from this study is to eat more plants, if possible local and season, to take advantage of their clusters of protective compounds, whatever their way of life.

What you must remember

  • Flavonoids are powerful protective compounds found mostly in plants.
  • A recent study finds an inverse association between all-cause mortality and flavonoid consumption.
  • The positive impact can not be attributed solely to flavonoids that are part of a complex food matrix.

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