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Move for More Flavonoids

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Exercise nudges unabsorbed nutrients

Move more and sit less. Obvious, right? That’s the gist of the revised Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, released November 2018.  This second edition replaces the recommendation to move 10 minutes at a time, by instead encouraging Americans to simply move more throughout the day because any amount of physical activity has some health benefit.  These updated guidelines cite new evidence stating improved quality of sleep, insulin sensitivity, even reduced anxiety and blood pressure as immediate health benefits.  While the other long term benefits of exercise are well known – think heart disease and stroke risk reductions and improvements in bone and mental health. 

Research from the Appalachian State University Human Performance Laboratory, published in Nutrients, takes a closer look at how physical activity in the form of walking and running does a body good.  They took a deep dive on flavonoids – a group of plant chemicals and powerful antioxidants that are responsible for the bright colors of red raspberries, blue blueberries or green grapes for example.  In humans, these compounds may help protect against cancer or decrease risk of death from any cause.   But in order to do their job, these compounds must be digested in the stomach; however in some cases flavonoids can remain unabsorbed, leaving us benefit less.  Is there a way to change this?  Well, their research found that either a brisk walk or run can nudge these nutrients into circulation from the unabsorbed state, unlocking their nutritional benefits.  It’s well documented that a balanced diet and exercise are a recipe for health and longevity, now we have one more piece of puzzle that explains why.

Published February 1, 2019

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