Flavonoids may help fight weight gain


stawberries and blueberriesA new observational study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) suggests that if you increase your intake of foods high in flavonoids, you can avoid gaining extra weight.

Flavonoids are associated with a number of foods, many of which have been studied previously, but the flavonoid most associated with weight loss are those present in green tea known as catechins. Research on catechins and weight loss is not conclusive, yet green tea extract available as a supplement is widely sold in the UK as a weight loss aid.

In this study, the research team looked at seven different types of flavonoids and how they influenced the weight of over 100,000 adults in the US over a period of 24 years. They found that four of these flavonoids: flavonols, flavan-3-ols, anthocyanins, and flavonoid polymers were associated with the least amount of weight gain.

Anthocyanins (pigment in fruit and vegetables ) are found in strawberries and blueberries (also in blackcurrant, cherry, grapes and acai)

Flavonols are found in tea and onions

flavan-3-ols/Flavonoid polymers are found in tea and apples

Just a modest amount of weight gain can influence our chances of weight-related diseases such as cancers, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases among others.

Eating a wide range of colourful fruits and vegetables will expose us to a many different types of plant chemicals that provide us with powerful antioxidants. These chemicals, known as phytochemicals generally, are well studied in the science literature and appear to protect us against diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Therefore, if they do help us from gaining weight (which is associated with these diseases) and they also protect us from these diseases, it makes sense to include these foods as regularly as we can.

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Bertoia et al (2016) Dietary flavonoid intake and weight maintenance: three prospective cohorts of 124 086 US men and women followed for up to 24 years BMJ. 352