Plant-based foods decrease risk of health problems

Written by: Shauna Bannan

Several flavonoid-rich fruits and vegetables

Common flavonoid-rich fruits and vegetables.

People who add a moderate amount of flavonoids, plant compounds found in food and beverages, to their diets are less likely to suffer from serious health problems, recent studies show.

There are over 4,000 compounds classified as flavonoids, many of which can be found in a variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as tea, beer, wine, nuts, and soy. Research suggests that the naturally occurring plant compounds have a number of beneficial effects on human health, including a reduced risk of cancer, asthma, stroke, and heart disease.

A recent study conducted on nearly 100,000 older U.S. adults found that those who consumed the most amount of flavonoids were less likely to die of heart disease or stroke, compared to those who consumed the least amounts, over the next seven years. The participants were divided into groups of five – based on their flavonoid intake. One-fifth of those with the highest level of plant compounds were 18 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular trouble than the group with the lowest intake.

A study conducted at UCLA found that smokers who consumed high levels of these compounds in their diets were less likely to develop lung cancer.

“What we found was extremely interesting, that several types of flavonoids are associated with a reduced risk of lung cancer among smokers,” said Dr. Zuo-Feng Zhang, a researcher and professor of public health and epidemiology at UCLA. “The findings were especially interesting because tobacco smoking is the major risk factor for lung cancer.”

Zhang suggests that flavonoids may prevent cancer cells from blocking, in addition to blocking the formation of blood vessels that tumors develop.

The secret lies within the compound’s antioxidant activity. Like other antioxidants, flavonoids provide the body with protection against cellular damage. Due to the common high intake of fruits, vegetables, tea, and wine, these plant-based compounds may, at times, have stronger antioxidant abilities than those of vitamins C and E.

Many of these foods are consumed on a daily basis. Most vegetables, particularly those that are green and red, contain high levels of the compound. Tree fruits, spices, and beverages, including red wine and tea of all types, are also among a long list of flavonoid-rich foods.

“Even adding one serving of flavonoid-rich food a day could be beneficial,” said Marjorie L. McCullough, lead researcher of the American Cancer Society in Atlanta. “Flavonoid-rich foods are the types of foods we should be eating anyway.”

Research Shows Even More Health Benefits of Drinking Green Tea

Written by Lisa Pearson

When you’re ready to curl up with a cup of your favorite hot drink, what do you prefer-coffee or tea? Research by Harvard School of Public Health shows that although coffee has its benefits such as boosting metabolism as well as reducing the risk of endometrial cancer; green tea reigns supreme when it comes to overall health benefits.

Green tea in teacup

Drinking green tea for health benefits

You have probably long heard that there are many health benefits to drinking green tea such as burning fat and lowering the risk of heart disease as well as several types of cancers. Researchers from the Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, CA conducted a study and found that the guzzling of green tea is now linked to lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol levels. The study published in the Journal of American Dietetic Association, showed that the individuals with high “bad” LDL cholesterol levels saw the most benefit. The study participants consumed green tea in some form such as in capsules or a drink, and a placebo for a period of three weeks to six months.

In a study in Harvard Women’s Health Watch, green tea was found to not only increase “good” HDL cholesterol points but improved artery function in addition to lowering the “bad” LDL cholesterol. Researchers warn though, that although there were significant findings, individuals with high cholesterol should avoid swapping medication for green tea altogether.

Harvard Women’s Health Watch recommends drinking tea at least a couple of times a day and steep your tea bag for three to five minutes in order to bring out the catechins. The catechins are the super stars in the elixir as they consist of potent, water soluble polyphenol and antioxidants that gives green tea its 5 star rating.

Green tea is also great for your skin. For one, it fights free radicals which damage the skin and the body. A study conducted by Case Western Reserve University in the year 2000 found that green tea extracts help protect your skin from sunburns. Dr. Stephen Hsu of the Medical College of Georgia Department of Oral Biology found that consuming green tea helps regenerate old skin cells nearing the end of their life cycle. He goes on to say that “Cells that migrate toward the surface of the skin normally live about 28 days, and by day 20, they basically sit on the upper layer of the skin getting ready to die. But EGCG reactivates them. I was so surprised.” EGCG is Epigallocatechin gallate, which is a catechin and antioxidant found in tea.

There are also many ways to use green tea for homemade beauty treatments by applying green tea to your skin. Check out the video below for one way to use green tea along some common household products to make a green tea scrub.


As you can see, there are many health benefits linked to green tea. So the next time you meet up with friends at a coffee shop, give tea a try. Your body will thank you for it!