Background: Flavonoids are bioactive compounds found in foods such as tea, chocolate, red wine, fruit, and vegetables. Higher intakes of specific flavonoids and flavonoid-rich foods have been linked to reduced mortality from specific vascular diseases and cancers. However, the importance of flavonoids in preventing all-cause mortality remains uncertain.
Objective: The objective was to explore the association between flavonoid intake and risk of 5-y mortality from all causes by using 2 comprehensive food composition databases to assess flavonoid intake.
Design: The study population included 1063 randomly selected women aged ≤75 y. All-cause, cancer, and cardiovascular mortalities were assessed over 5 y of follow-up through the Western Australia Data Linkage System. Two estimates of flavonoid intake (total flavonoidUSDA and total flavonoidPE) were determined by using food composition data from the USDA and the Phenol-Explorer (PE) databases, respectively.
Results: During the 5-y follow-up period, 129 (12%) deaths were documented. Participants with high total flavonoid intake were at lower risk [multivariate-adjusted HR (95% CI)] of 5-y all-cause mortality than those with low total flavonoid consumption [total flavonoidUSDA: 0.37 (0.22, 0.58); total flavonoidPE: 0.36 (0.22, 0.60)]. Similar beneficial relations were observed for both cardiovascular disease mortality [total flavonoidUSDA: 0.34 (0.17, 0.69); flavonoidPE: 0.32 (0.16, 0.61)] and cancer mortality [total flavonoidUSDA: 0.25 (0.10, 0.62); flavonoidPE: 0.26 (0.11, 0.62)].
Conclusions: Using the most comprehensive flavonoid databases, we provide evidence that high consumption of flavonoids is associated with reduced risk of mortality in older women. The benefits of flavonoids may extend to the etiology of cancer and cardiovascular disease. © 2015 American Society for Nutrition.