Flavonoid-rich foods just landed a major brain health win. Flavonoids are plant-based compounds revered for their potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory prowess, as well as their propensity to enhance the growth of good gut bacteria.
For this long term study, researchers evaluated the cognitive function of 2,800 middle-age and older adults at baseline (all normal to start) then every four years for a 20 year period. At the time of their cognitive evaluations, each study subject also filled out detailed dietary questionnaires regarding their intake of various flavonoid-rich foods.
The results? Study subjects consuming higher levels (>60th percentile) of three specific families of flavonoids (flavonols, anthocyanins, and flavonoid polymers) were 2-4 times less likely to develop dementia, to include Alzheimer’s vs. those with the lowest intakes (<15th percentile). Stated another way—those consuming the least flavonoids were 2-4 times more likely to develop dementia—ouch!
Of the three flavonoid families, anthocyanins (think berries) were linked to the greatest risk reduction at 4-fold! What’s more, the specific food intakes needed to place study subjects in the “higher intakes” zone were deliciously doable.
For reference, here were the specifics:
My take—These are all delicious foods that are readily available, so make them a standard part of your daily diet. Frankly, after reading this article I don’t know how anyone could pass them up!
References: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2020; DOI: 10.1093/ajcn/nqaa079