Fruits, vegetables, coffee tied to longevity
For the first time, a scientific study has linked high dietary intake of polyphenols with increased longevity in older adults. Polyphenols are naturally occurring compounds found largely in fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, nuts, legumes and cereals, and have been found to have many health effects, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticarcinogenic.
The research published in the Journal of Nutrition is based on a twelve-year followup of a population sample composed by 807 men and women aged 65 or over from the Tuscany region of Italy. The researchers analyzed the effect of polyphenol-rich diets by using a nutritional biomarker -- the total urinary polyphenol (TUP) concentration -- as a proxy measure of intake. According to Cristina Andrés Lacueva, coordinator of the study, "the development and use of nutritional biomarkers enables to make a more precise and, particularly, more objective estimation of intake as it is not only based on participants' memory when answering a questionnaire."
The study found that overall mortality was reduced by 30 percent in participants who had rich-polyphenol diets (>650 mg/day), in comparison with those who had low-polyphenol intakes (<500 mg/day). The results support previous scientific evidence showing that people consuming diets rich in fruit and vegetables are at lower risk of several chronic diseases.