Flavonoids in Fruits and Vegetables – Protection for Your Heart

An ever-increasing volume of evidence from research studies has built a strong case for the heart health-protecting benefits of a diet loaded with fruits and vegetables. Eating multiple servings every day appears to benefit the heart and reduce the risk of death from heart disease. Do fruit and vegetables contain natural constituents can confer this protection? In search for the answer, science has focused on a diverse group of compounds called “flavonoids” that are abundant in plants. Over 4,000 flavonoids have been identified in the plant kingdom. These substances are also commonly known as “bioflavonoids”; meaning they are found in living things, in this case fruits and vegetables.

Flavonoids are plant-based phytonutrients with cardiovascular protective properties that have come to light in studies on cellular biology. A 2012 study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined data on lifestyle behaviors, food consumption and medical histories from questionnaires completed by nearly 100,00 people (38,180 men; 60,289 women. Using a sophisticated statistical analysis method called “cox regression”, the researchers found a strong association between total dietary flavonoid intake and cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality. Compared to those in the lowest fifth of flavonoid consumption, people in the highest fifth had a nearly 20 percent lower risk. In men, there was a particularly strong link between flavonoid intake and reduced risk of death from stroke. As stated in the report: “Flavonoid consumption was associated with lower risk of death from CVD.”

How do flavonoids deliver their heart health benefits? There appear to be a number of physiological mechanisms. According to a research review published in the scientific journal Pharmacological Reviews: “The mechanism for a cardioprotective role of flavonoids likely involves more than one pathway, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions and vascular effects.”


McCullough ML, et al. Flavonoid intake and cardiovascular disease mortality in a prospective cohort of US adults. Am J Clin Nutr 2012;95(2):454-64.

Middleton M, et al. the effects of plant flavonoids on mammalian cells: implications for inflammation, heart disease and cancer. Pharmacol Rev 2000;52(4):677-751.

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Organic Really is Better For You – the Latest Research Shows It!

Scientists, cautious as they are, have debated as to whether organic vegetables and fruits are indeed healthier than inorganic. Even though studies have found higher levels—as much as nearly 70 percent higher – of antioxidant compounds in organic foods when compared to inorganic foods, the research data as a whole has been called inconclusive, from a strict scientific point of view. Just the same, there’s little argument that organic crops have lower levels of toxic substances; that alone is enough for many consumers to make the switch. Expectedly better nutritional value is an added value to the safety factor that comes with lower toxicity.

But now, one of the largest data reviews performed to date should settle the issue once and for all. Published in the British Journal of Nutrition, meta-analyses of data pooled from 343 scientific studies “indicate statistically significant and meaningful differences in composition between organic and non-organic crops and crop-based foods,” according to the report. The content of antioxidant plant-based nutrients such as flavonoids, “were found to be substantially higher” in organic crops. Non-organic crops, on the other hand have four times more pesticide residues. Levels of cadmium, a toxic heavy metal, are also higher in conventional crops. And this holds true regardless of where the crops are grown, showing that organic farming practices do make a difference. “Organic crops, on average, have much higher concentrations of antioxidants, lower concentration of Cd (cadmium) and a lower incidence of pesticide residues than the non-organic comparators across regions and produce seasons”, the report concludes.

For those of you who’ve made the transition to organic shopping, you can now be assured that, where your health is concerned, it’s well worth the effort and expense.

Barański M, et al. Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses. Br J Nutr. 2014 Jun 26:1-18. [Epub ahead of print].

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Juicing trend is one nutritional fad

One of the more nutritious trends currently sweeping the nation is juicing. Individuals are throwing their favorite fruits and vegetables into food processers and enjoying the fresh fluid that flows forth. This healthy fad can help individuals load up on important phytonutrients.

Fruits and vegetables are among the best sources of a number of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients, all of which have been shown to support brain health and heart health. However, people often feel like they don't have the time to eat all that they should. Juicing is a practical answer to this problem.

People can throw several servings of fruits and vegetables into the blender and consume the product in just a couple minutes, even when they're on the go. Compared to fad diets and other fitness routines, this new trend is actually a very effective way for individuals to support their health without too much effort.

For those who do not own a food processer, there many nutritional phytonutrient drinks they can buy that are essentially the same thing as fresh processed juices.

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Drinking a protein drink after a workout could keep your muscles youthful

Exercise is crucial for healthy aging, which has inspired a number of individuals to stay active into their later years. However, there are methods of increasing the body's ability to stay younger that can be coupled with physical activity.

A new study published in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal suggests that drinking protein drinks after a workout could help maintain muscles even as they age. The researchers suggest that this study is important because it will help older individuals stay active longer.

"It is not a mystery that exercise and nutrition help slow the aging process," said Benjamin F. Miller, one of the researchers of the study. "Studies such as ours help to explain how exercise and nutrition work so that we can better take advantage of those pathways to slow the aging process."

Older individuals may want to keep this in mind if they want to keep their muscles strong to help with workouts.

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Resveratrol linked to possible health benefits

Red wine has been the subject of many new studies, several of which suggest that it provides health benefits. Resveratrol, one of the active ingredients in the alcoholic drink, is an antioxidant that has been linked with improving heart health, according to one research initiative.

Researchers at Marywood University asked volunteers to take resveratrol supplements in an effort to test how human heart health was affected by the antioxidant. Much of the past research had been done on animals, and this study featured 44 individuals, according to Go Lackawanna News.

The call for human testing came when the French were exploring the possible benefits of drinking red wine, lead author Dr. James Smoliga noted. Results from the study are being gathered as similar research is underway to determine the health effects of resveratrol.

The health benefits of red wine were also recently outlined in a study on blood flow and oxygen to the brain, according to The Telegraph.

The amount of research on the effects of this antioxidant demonstrated the potential benefits of taking resveratrol. Taking this in the form of a supplement may improve heart health.  

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Purity Products Perfect Purples Video

Dr. Neil Levin talks about the importance of fruits and vegetables and feeling your best. Purity Products’ Perfect Purples is a delicious phytonutrient drink that combines 19 powerful exotic fruits and vegetables including Acai, Gogi, Mangosteen and more.

Having trouble viewing? Here is the direct link to YouTube:

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