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Eating these foods can make us stronger as we age, study finds


[Aug. 21, 2023: Staff Writer, The Brighter Side of News]


What if a bite of an apple could be the key to aging gracefully? (CREDIT: Creative Commons)


Aging is a natural process we all go through, and with it comes inevitable changes in our physical strength and bone health. But what if a bite of an apple could be the key to aging gracefully? New research suggests that certain foods, especially those rich in quercetin, can fight frailty and make us stronger as we age.


Recently, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a groundbreaking study detailing the positive effects of quercetin—a specific subclass of flavonoids—on frailty in senior citizens. These flavonoids, compounds found abundantly in many fruits and vegetables, are known for their strong antioxidant activity.


 
 

Researchers closely observed 1,701 seniors over 12 years who, at the outset, were not diagnosed with frailty. They recorded their flavonoid intake through self-reported questionnaires. At the culmination of the study, 13.2% of the participants had developed frailty—a syndrome common in older adults that increases the risks of falls, hospitalization, and even mortality.


Keri Gans, M.S., R.D., an acclaimed dietitian and author, simplifies the complex science behind quercetin. "Quercetin is a plant compound with antioxidant properties," she says. Further echoing its importance, Melissa Prest, D.C.N., R.D.N., a member of the Prevention Medical Review Board, elaborates, "Quercetin combats inflammation, making it crucial for our health."


 

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Quercetin-Rich Foods


So, where can we find this seemingly magical compound? Nature offers a cornucopia of sources:

  • Apples

  • Berries

  • Yellow and green peppers

  • Cherries

  • Red grapes

  • Kale

  • Tea

  • Tomatoes

  • Broccoli

  • Olive oil

  • Capers

  • Parsley

  • Asparagus

  • Citrus fruits

  • Leafy vegetables


 
 

Previously, quercetin has been spotlighted for its potential in improving bone health. "There are ongoing clinical trials studying quercetin’s capacity to counteract bone loss and stimulate bone formation," Gans points out. This new study builds on that research by suggesting a high intake of quercetin correlates with a decreased risk of frailty in adults.


While the health benefits of quercetin are clear, it's essential to remember that a holistic approach is the best way to age with vitality. (CREDIT: Creative Commons)


Combatting Frailty


While the health benefits of quercetin are clear, it's essential to remember that a holistic approach is the best way to age with vitality. "To reduce the risk of frailty, older adults should consume adequate daily calories, particularly protein," advises Gans. Prest chimes in on the importance of protein for the elderly, emphasizing the inclusion of protein-rich foods like low-sugar yogurt, beans, and chicken in every meal.


 
 

Exercise remains a cornerstone of health, irrespective of age. As we grow older, muscle mass naturally declines. Hence, integrating a fitness regime that encompasses walking and resistance exercises is vital. "Activities like walking and strength training can help maintain strength," says Prest.


Integrating a fitness regime that encompasses walking and resistance exercises is vital. (CREDIT: Creative Commons)


Moreover, maintaining an active mind and robust social connections can further deter frailty. As Prest notes, it's as crucial to keep our minds agile as our bodies.


It's startling how frailty escalates with age. Research reveals that frailty affects:

  • 4% of adults aged 65-69

  • 7% of adults aged 70-74

  • 9% of adults aged 75-79

  • 16% of adults aged 80-84

  • A whopping 26% of adults 85 years and older.


 
 

Gans encourages a diverse plant-based diet foEnsure your diet is rich in quercetin-bearing foods to potentially uphold your bone health and strength in the long haulr its myriad health benefits. "," she suggests.


Ensure your diet is rich in quercetin-bearing foods to potentially uphold your bone health and strength in the long haul. (CREDIT: Creative Commons)


Quercetin Supplements: A Word of Caution


While whole foods remain the most beneficial source of quercetin, some may consider supplements. However, Prest advises discussing with a healthcare provider before doing so. "There are potential interactions between quercetin supplements and certain medications, including antibiotics and anticoagulants," she warns.


It's paramount to understand that dietary supplements complement the diet and are not replacements for medicines. Always exercise caution when considering supplements, particularly if pregnant, nursing, or considering for children.


 
 

In the journey of aging, it appears nature has provided a potential ally in quercetin. By integrating quercetin-rich foods into our diet and adopting a holistic approach to health, we can pave the way for a stronger and more resilient golden age.





For more science news stories check out our New Discoveries section at The Brighter Side of News.


 

Note: Materials provided by The Brighter Side of News. Content may be edited for style and length.


 
 

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