Foods rich in flavonoids -- from apples and pears to dark chocolate and red wine -- may help shield postmenopausal women from coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease and stroke, a new study shows.
Flavonoids are antioxidant compounds, found in many plant-based foods, and have been hypothesized to protect the heart by reducing levels of low-density lipoprotein or "bad" cholesterol and reducing inflammation, Dr. Pamela J. Mink of Exponent, Inc., and colleagues note. But studies investigating heart health and flavonoid levels in the diet have had mixed results, they add in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The researchers used three newly available databases from the U.S.
Department of Agriculture to determine the flavonoid contain of foods, the researchers analyzed results of food questionnaires on diet from 34,489 postmenopausal women participating in the Iowa Women's Health Study.