Flavonoids Can Help You Breathe Easier With Age

Flavonoids are the pigments that give fruits and vegetables their bright colors. Aside from providing vibrant colors for fruits and vegetables, flavonoids also help to regulate cell growth. Furthermore, these pigments also contain antioxidative properties, which hold a lot of benefits for human health. That being said, new research has revealed that one particular flavonoid can be extremely beneficial for lung health.

Flavonoids: The study

The study- which was presented during the American Thoracic Society 2018 International Conference in San Diego- investigated the link between the dietary intake of the flavonoid anthocyanins (which can be found in dark-pigmented fruits and vegetables such as red grapes, blueberries and purple potatoes) and lung function decline in middle-age adults. Other studies had previously shown anthocyanins to reduce mucus and inflammation in animals with a form of lung diseases. For the study, the researchers examined data from 463 adults- with an average age of 44-who participated in the second and third European Community Respiratory Health Surveys from 2002 to 2012. The participants all filled in dietary questionnaires and took part in a spirometry test- a lung function test- at the start of the study. Ten years later, their lung function was tested again. The study made sure to adjust for a wide range of factors such as gender and body mass index. Vanessa Garcia-Larsen, lead author of the study, explained that by the time we
reach the age of 30- we’ve generally reached our peak lung capacity.

“After this time, lung function started to slowly decline for everyone. The speed of decline will vary from one person to another, depending on several factors, such as smoking, physical activity, exposure to certain pollutants and the presence of other medical conditions”.

The results

The study revealed that those who ate a large amount of fruits and vegetables that contained anthocyanins had a slower per year decline in lung function compared to those who consumed fewer of the same foods. It must also be noted that researchers examined the benefits of anthocyanin consumption amongst smokers and found no association between anthocyanin intake and their lung function. Thus it remains that the best thing smokers can do for their health is to quit.

The verdict

Although the study may have been limited by its small sample size, self-reported diets and its inability to prove cause and effect – it does highlight the need to add more brightly colored fruits and vegetables to your diet. Read more about the study here.

Want to know how breathing can be a tool for better health and longevity? Click on the link to find out.