Flavanols are naturally occurring compounds, largely found in fruits and vegetables. They’re a part of why foods from red wine to chocolate have been linked to health benefits, though they also occur in more traditionally “healthy” foods too—like apples, berries, and teas. According to Kuhnle, “In the British diet, the main sources [of flavanols] are tea, cocoa, apples and berries.”
While previous studies have worked on establishing a link, they operated based on diet reports from participants. By contrast, this new study actually based their measures of flavanol intake on nutritional biomarkers for a more exact result.
“In contrast to self-reported dietary data, nutritional biomarkers can address the huge variability in food composition,” he further explains, “We can therefore confidently attribute the associations we observed to flavanol intake.” While foods such as the ones mentioned above are known to contain flavanols, natural variance in their composition means that studies that rely on self-reporting can’t link the benefits to specific compounds as confidently as this study has.
The good news is there’s plenty of amazing reasons to reach for flavanol-rich foods beyond their potential for helping prevent high blood pressure. Berries are super gut-health friendly, apples are a good source of fiber, and certain teas can help with bloating, headaches, and more.
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