While pounding fruit smoothies may not get you to fit into your college jeans, a recent study published in BMJ found that a diet rich in produce packed with flavonoids might help middle-aged people maintain a healthy weight—and maybe even lose a pound or two. What had the greatest effect in fighting the flab? Apples, pears, berries and peppers.
Researchers from the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Medical School analyzed links between dietary intake of flavonoids and weight change in 124,086 American men and women across 24 years. It was the first large study to look at the association of flavonoid consumption and weight gain in middle-aged and older adults, UAE professor Aedin Cassidy, PhD, told healthgauge.com.
Even a few extra pounds collected in mid-life can take a toll on health. “Most adults gain weight as they age and even small increases in weight can have a substantial impact on risk of high blood pressure, developing heart disease, cancer or diabetes—so strategies to help individuals maintain a healthy weight in middle age are needed,” she said. “We found that an increased consumption of most flavonoids were associated with weight maintenance, and even a modest weight loss. The results were found to be consistent across men and women, and different ages…Just a single portion of these fruits per day would have an important impact on heath at a population level.”
Potential weight loss is not the only reason people should eat more fruits and veggies. In another recent study, researchers found that stroke risk decreased 32 percent with every 200 grams of fruit consumed daily and 11 percent with every 200 grams of vegetables.