Thanks to scientists from Harvard, we have even more evidence that eating brightly colored fruits and veggies does wonders for our brains. For this new study, scientists followed the diets and cognitive status of about 77,000 adults from about age 50 to age 70. This particular evaluation was undertaken to evaluate the relationship between flavonoid intake and memory decline.
Flavonoids are a large family of plant compounds known for their potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory power, as well as their propensity to boost the health of the gut microbiome.
To assess cognitive function, study subjects answered a series of questions intended to identify early memory decline, which is often missed on standard screening tests.
The results? Study subjects in the highest quartile of flavonoid intake were 20% less likely to report memory decline relative to those in the lowest quartile of intake. Amongst the various members of the flavonoid family of plant pigments, flavones came out on top as the most potent brain protectors with a 38% reduction in the chances of memory decline.
Anthocyanins, those blue/red/purple pigments in foods like berries, came in second with highest consumers enjoying a 24% reduction in the risk of cognitive decline.
To inspire you, please note that reaching levels of flavonoid intake on par with the highest consumers in this study is as simple as including a half serving a day of a flavonoid rich food like berries or apples! But why stop there? Go for bigger doses as these foods are delicious.
Click here to see the list of foods highest in flavonoids, as well as those highest in the best of the bunch – namely flavones and anthocyanins.
Neurology, 2021; 10.1212/WNL.0000000000012454 DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000012454