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Another cup of flavonoids?

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Brewing up a cup of tea is good for you. The drink is packed full of flavonoids, chemicals found in plants that protect us from heart disease, stroke, dementia and cancer.

Your elderly aunt might not know much about the Mediterranean diet, but she’s doing one thing right—she’s putting the kettle on for a cup of tea.

Tea is full of flavonoids, phyto-chemicals or polyphenols with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities that slow the buildup of abdominal aortic calcification (AAC), which can lead to heart disease and stroke. AAC is also a precursor of dementia.

The aorta is the largest artery in the body, supplying oxygen to the abdomen and lower limbs, and the more tea you drink, the lower your risk of developing AAC, a new study from the Edith Cowan University in Australia has discovered.1 

The researchers monitored 881 older women, with an average age of 80, for signs of AAC—and although their diets weren’t particularly healthy, most were tea drinkers. Those drinking two to six cups a day were up to 40 percent less likely to have extensive AAC.

Not all the women were tea drinkers, however, and the non-drinkers were getting their flavonoids from apples, nuts, citrus fruits, berries or red wine.

Aside from AAC, flavonoids also protect against some cancers, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis.

The richest sources 

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of flavonoids is between 400 and 600 mg. And there are some foods and drinks that give you your daily hit—or more—in one go.

Dark chocolate (70% to 85% cacao)

A 25-g serving gives you 3 times your RDA.

Green tea

A 2-g serving gives you 130% of your RDA.

Shiraz or Syrah red wine

A 250-g serving gives you 116% of your RDA.


The different flavonoids

Flavonoids are chemicals that plants use to protect themselves against disease. It seems they can do the same for humans, too.

There are six varieties of flavonoids:


are powerful antioxidants and are found in:

  • Onions
  • Kale
  • Grapes and red wine
  • Tea
  • Peaches
  • Berries
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli


help protect against cell damage and regulate blood pressure and sugar levels and are found in:

  • White tea
  • Green tea
  • Oolong tea
  • Black tea
  • Apples
  • Red and purple grapes
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Cocoa


help reduce inflammation in the body and are found in:

  • Parsley
  • Red peppers
  • Celery
  • Chamomile
  • Peppermint


are anti-inflammatories that can also help control your weight and are found in:

  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit


keep our hormones in balance and are found in:

  • Soy
  • Legumes
  • Fava beans


are antioxidants that protect against heart disease and cancer and are found in:

  • Red and purple grapes
  • Red wine
  • Cranberries
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Blackberries

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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol, 2022; 42 (12): 1482–94

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