Eating an Apple a Day Can Help You Stay Strong as You Age, New Study Says

Researchers found that foods rich in flavonoids, like apples and blackberries, may reduce your risk of developing frailty, which leads to falls and bone breaks.

<p>Aleksandr Zubkov / GETTY IMAGES</p>

Aleksandr Zubkov / GETTY IMAGES

It turns out the old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” really does have some truth behind it. According to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, foods rich in flavonoids—like apples and blackberries—will keep you strong as you age.

According to the researchers, approximately 10 to 15 percent of older adults experience frailty, a condition that leads to a greater risk of falls, fractures, disability, hospitalization, and mortality. While current dietary recommendations for preventing frailty focus primarily on protein intake, there are other foods that can keep the condition at bay.

To obtain their findings, the researchers utilized data from the Framingham Heart Study to determine the association between flavonoid intake and frailty onset. In total, there we 1,701 participants included in the cohort. All individuals were free of frailty at the start of the study and were followed for 12 years to evaluate their health.

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The researchers found that when participants added just 10 more milligrams of flavonoids to their diets per day, the odds of developing frailty went down by 20 percent. That’s the equivalent of eating a medium sized apple (which has about 10 milligrams of flavonols, a subclass of flavonoids) per day, study authors note.

“Although there was no significant association between total flavonoid intake and frailty, higher flavonols intake was associated with lower odds of developing frailty,” said study co-author Shivani Sahni in a press release. Specifically, a higher intake of quercetin, which is found in apples, had the strongest association with frailty prevention, Sahni added.

While the data suggests that there may be other subclasses of flavonoids that have the most potential for frailty prevention, study authors note that more research is needed.

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