Eating foods high in flavonoids could slow down cognitive decline

Eating a plate full of colorful foods like strawberries and peppers, which include flavonoids, could slow your cognitive decline, a new study found.

People who ate about 600 milligrams (0.02 ounces) of flavonoids per day had a 20% lower risk of cognitive decline than those who ate only 150 milligrams (0.005 ounces) per day, according to the study published Wednesday in the American Academy of Neurology journal.

A 100-gram (3.5-ounce) serving of strawberries has about 180 milligrams (0.006 ounces) of flavonoids, while an apple has about 113 milligrams (0.003 ounces), the study said.

Flavonoids are a series of compounds with strong antioxidant abilities that are commonly found in many fruits and vegetables, said study author Dr. Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and professor of medicine at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Damage to the “blood supply to the brain is an important contributor to cognitive decline,” said Willett, adding that the anti-inflammatory properties of flavonoids help protect that blood supply, which in turn slows down the cognitive decline.

Cognitive decline can lead to diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s, he added.

The study spanned nearly a quarter of a century and had about 75,000 participants. The average age of the participants at the start of the study was 50, and they are now in their 70s and 80s, Willett said.

People’s brain functions begin to decline in our 20s and 30s, but we usually don’t notice it until we reach our 70s, he said. Eating foods high in flavonoids could make the downward slope less steep, he added.

After tracking the participants’ diets over 20 years, researchers had them answer a questionnaire multiple times over a four-year period to determine cognitive decline, Willett said.

Each person’s cognitive decline was calculated with six yes or no questions. Questions included “Do you have more trouble than usual remembering a short list of items, such as a shopping list?” and “Do you have trouble remembering things from one second to the next?

Because the study took place over decades, the results are much more valid than other studies that occur over a couple years, said Dr. Daniel Potts, a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology and attending neurologist at the US Department of Veterans Affairs in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, who was not involved in the study.

Cognitive decline is something that takes place slowly, so when you’re assessing it, you’re able to pick up subtle changes better over a long period of time,” he said.

How to eat more flavonoids

Willett said there isn’t a specific number of flavonoids people should eat each day, and they shouldn’t be counted or measured.

Additionally, eating flavonoids only plays a small role in potentially slowing down cognitive decline, he said. People should live a healthy lifestyle as well, he noted, which includes regular physically activity and not smoking.

The Mediterranean diet has been shown to be effective in the preservation of cognitive function, Potts said, and many of the foods featured in the diet are high in flavonoids.

Nutrition has a lot to do with our cognitive health, and the choices that we make today concerning the things we consume have a big role to play later in life in protecting our brains,” he said.

Some fruits high in flavonoids include strawberries, blueberries and oranges, he said. Peppers and celery are some vegetables with high amounts of the compound, he added.

Website Link (Article by Megan Marples)


Published by RenSun Lee

Kia ora! Sustainability is at the core of my soul ever since I was a kid. I always strive to finish the food on my plate and live as a minimalist. I love to cut down on waste in order to live sustainably and harmoniously with our planet. This brings me to my passion as a Food Scientist to integrate new technologies into innovative and creative solutions to meet customer demands and market trends and to optimize products and processes for quality, savings and sustainability. To these goals, I have published a Journal on my work on sustainable packaging and patented a new Antimicrobial wash. Nothing is more satisfying than working hard and smart at the workplace and playing hard outside of working hours. I enjoy rejuvenating myself through spending quality time with my two adorable kids and my awesome soul mate and getting close to nature when possible, be it gardening, tramping or going to the beach. I also love to learn about our magnificent universe and how sustainability is working in the grand scheme of things. I strongly believe that Work, Life & Balance is the key to a healthy state of mind, both physically and mentally. I look forward to making a positive difference wherever and whenever I can. Through this Blog, I hope to catalog recent Food Trends and Food Technologies that I come across so that anyone who is interested can have access to it (articles and resources). Please use these resources at your discretion. On top of that, I would also like to share related news and technologies of the future that would help mankind advance towards a Type 1 Civilization. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to share and contribute to the “Resources“. I would like to thank you in advance for dropping by. I sincerely hope that you can benefit from the recent Food Trends and Food Technologies I catalogued. Kind regards | Ngā mihi RenSun Lee

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