Gaining less weight is as easy as eating more. Sound strange? It’s not; but it is all about eating smart. In this case, eating smart is eating flavonoid-rich fruits and vegetables like apples, pears, and berries, according to research published in the British Medical Journal.
In the study, researchers observed how the consumption of seven different flavonoid subclasses affected the weight of 124,086 men and women over the span of 24 years. All of the participants were either part of the Health Professionals Follow Up Study, Nurses' Health Study, or Nurses' Health Study II.
Every two years, between 1986 and 2011, the men and women were asked to self-report their weight, lifestyle habits, and any recently diagnosed diseases via questionnaire. And every four years, they were asked to self-report their diet.
Findings revealed that increased consumption of any flavonoid subclass was associated with less weight gain. But the greatest association was seen for anthocyanins, flavonoid polymers, and flavanols. Each increased standard deviation of daily intake was associated with 0.16 to 0.23 lbs less weight gained over four year intervals.
The main source of anthocyanins came from blueberries and strawberries; flavanols and their polymers were chiefly derived from tea and apples; flavanone and flavones primarily came from orange juice and oranges; and flavanols were mostly gained through the consumption of tea and onions.
Losing just small increments of weight can reduce your risk of diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease, so load up on the good stuff. The authors suggest bulking your fruit and vegetable intake (especially since most of us get less than one cup of fruit and less than two cups of vegetables each day).
And, naturally, choose the fruits and vegetables richest in flavonoids. There’s a multitude of health benefits packed in these plant compounds. Other than helping you stay lean, here are four more reasons to eat 'em.