A new study shows that fruits and vegetables that are high in flavonoids can help manage body weight and cut down on abdominal fat.
Flavonoids are bioactive compounds found in fruits, vegetables and other plant foods. Some of the most common include anthocyanins, which are found in berries and red grapes; flavonols (onions, kale, broccoli); flavones (parsley, celery); and isoflavones (soybeans and legumes).
The study analyzed the diets of 2,734 female twins. All participants were healthy and ranged in age from 18 to 83. The women whose diets included the most flavonoid-rich foods had significantly lower body and abdominal fat than those who ate the least, even after accounting for physical activity and other dietary factors.
The study found that the most effective foods were those high in anthocyanins and flavones. Women who ate the most of those foods were measured with 9 percent less abdominal fat. In the study, one serving of anthocyanin-rich foods was equivalent to two-thirds of a cup of blueberries or sliced strawberries, three-quarters of a cup of raspberries, 30 red grapes, one medium pear or four ounces of red wine.
One serving of flavone-rich foods was equivalent to one medium orange, two green chili peppers or four ounces of red wine.
The research is the latest to show that flavonoids offer multiple health benefits. Other studies show that a flavonoid-rich diet can guard against coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes, as well as improve cognitive performance.