Researchers from University of Barcelona studied 807 men and women aged 65 or over from central Italy for 12 years.

They found that overall mortality was reduced by 30 percent in participants who consumed more than 650 mg of polyphenols a day in comparison with those who took in less than 500 mg.

Polyphenols are naturally occurring compounds found largely in fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, nuts, legumes and cereals. Polyphenols have antioxidant, antiinflammatory and anticarcinogenic properties.

"Results corroborate scientific evidence suggesting that people consuming diets rich in fruit and vegetables are at lower risk of several chronic diseases and overall mortality," said Raul Zamora Ros, first author of the study.

The study is the first to evaluate the total dietary polyphenol intake by using a nutritional biomarker and not only a food frequency questionnaire, researchers said.

The group analysed the effect of polyphenol-rich diets by means of a nutritional biomarker, the total urinary polyphenol (TUP) concentration - as a proxy measure of intake.

Professor Cristina Andres Lacueva, head of the Biomarkers and Nutritional & Food Metabolomics Research Group of the UB and coordinator of the study, explained that "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 questionnaire."

"Nutritional biomarkers take into account bioavailabity and individual differences. This methodology makes a more reliable and accurate evaluation of the association between food intake and mortality or disease risk," she said.

(Agencies)           

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