(BOSTON) — Air pollution can cause a variety of serious health problems, including affecting heart functions.
So Harvard doctoral student Jia Zhong says that if you can’t move away, remember these three words: flavonoids, flavonoids, flavonoids.
These antioxidants, which can protect against cell damage, are found in chocolate, wine, fruits and vegetables and, according to Zhong, also defend against smog-related heart disease, particularly in older men.
Zhong and his mentor, Dr. Andrea Baccarelli, looked at 573 older men from the Boston area over an 11-year period and discovered that their heart’s ability to vary its rhythm was hurt when smog levels rose for 48 hours.
However, men who consumed high amounts of foods loaded with flavonoids did not suffer the same reduction of heart rate variability as their counterparts.
Zhong and Baccarelli had two caveats. One is that people shouldn’t overdo it on wine and chocolate, for obvious reasons. And secondly, they could not prove a definitive cause-and-effect link between flavonoids and heart rate variability.
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