An Apple A Day Keeps Dementia Away
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When it comes to brain health, an old adage gets a makeover: “An apple a day keeps dementia away.” In a first long-term study, people who ate foods with flavonoids had lower risks for Alzheimer’s and related diseases. The study involved nearly three thousand people aged fifty or older for over twenty years and looked at how eating flavonoid containing foods impacted the development of dementia.

Flavonoid-rich foods and drinks include apples, onions, pears, berries, wine and tea, especially green tea, and our favorite, dark chocolate. Flavonoids give plants their bright colors and are powerful antioxidants that fight inflammation and improve immunity.

At the start of this study, only people without cognitive decline were enrolled. They were divided into groups based on how much and the types of flavonoid containing foods they ate. There are six groups of flavonoids with over six thousand types identified.

The results showed that those consuming low levels of flavonols such as tea, pears and apples had up to twice the risk of developing dementia. But those who ate diets low in anthocyanins such as strawberries and blueberries had four times the cases of dementia. Eating very small amounts of these foods meant that each month they ate either no berries or just an apple and a half and drank no teas.

The study had some weaknesses. The data was self-reported and the people were mostly Caucasian. Yet, with six million Americans living with dementia, drinking a bit of tea every night doesn’t seem like too much work.

For more information…

Long-term dietary flavonoid intake and risk of Alzheimer disease and related dementias in the Framingham Offspring Cohort
Findings from existing prospective observational studies on the protective associations of flavonoid intake and the risk of Alzheimer disease and related dementias (ADRD) are inconsistent largely due to limitations of these studies.

What Are Flavonoids?
Flavonoids are a diverse group of phytonutrients (plant chemicals) found in almost all fruits and vegetables. Along with carotenoids, they are responsible for the vivid colors in fruits and vegetables. Flavonoids are the largest group of phytonutrients, with more than 6,000 types. Some of the best-known flavonoids are quercetin and kaempferol.

More berries, apples and tea may have protective benefits against Alzheimer's
Study shows low intake of flavonoid-rich foods linked with higher Alzheimer's risk over 20 years