A colourful plant-based diet may be the key to reduce age related cognitive decline. A diet rich in oranges, strawberries, apples and peppers may reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Recent study has shown that flavonoids found in coloured fruits and vegetables may reduce the cognitive decline over age. Flavonoids are thought to have a protective effect against age related decline in thinking skills or ability. A plant-based diet rich in coloured fruits and vegetables may lower age related cognitive decline.
Adding flavonoid rich fruits and vegetables to your diet will reduce age related cognitive decline. Flavonoids are naturally occurring compounds found especially in colourful fruits and vegetables. Flavonoids are basically stuffed with powerful antioxidants which have the protective effect. By simply adding colourful fruits and vegetables to your diet you may prevent cognitive decline with age.
This study, with over 20 years of follow-up, was conducted in a study population of 49,493 women with an average age of 51. The study used various questionnaires to asses early memory problems. The consumption of different flavonoids was calculated by multiplying the flavonoid content of each food by its frequency. Various parameters such as age and total calories intake were taken into consideration while deriving the results. Individuals who consumed orange juice, oranges, peppers, celery, grapefruits, grapefruit juice, apples and pears performed well. According to the study, the highest flavonoid consumers had 20% less risk of self-reported cognitive decline than the lowest consumers.
Flavonoids and their benefits
Upon investigating several types of flavonoids, researchers have found that anthocyanins and flavones may have the most protective effect. Researchers have studied individual fruits and their flavonoids.
Flavonoids found in different fruits and vegetables:
- Peppers consist of about 5mg of flavones per 100 gram serving.
- Blueberries contain approximately 164mg of anthocyanins per 100 gram serving.
- Strawberries contain about 180mg of flavonoids per 100 gram serving.
- Apples contain about 113mg of flavonoids per 100 gram serving.
Protective effect of the various flavonoids:
- Flavones in certain spices and yellow or orange fruits and vegetables have strongest protective qualities. They are linked to a 38% lowering in risk of cognitive decline. The protective effect is basically equivalent of being three to four years younger in age.
- Blueberries’, blackberries’ and cherries’ anthocyanin contents are linked to a 24% reduced risk of cognitive decline.
Adding more colour to your plate may reduce cognitive decline:
Therefore, the study concluded that a colourful diet rich in flavonoids, specifically flavones and anthocyanins, is beneficial for better long-term brain health. Another important observation was that the benefits of flavonoid rich coloured fruits and vegetables can be obtained at any point of life. Adding flavonoids to your diet at younger age or later in life both may have protective effect against cognitive decline.
Consuming, every day, about half a serving of flavonoid rich food like strawberries, oranges, peppers and apples is essential. By following a colourful plant-based diet a 20% lower risk of cognitive decline may be obtained. So, adding more colour to your plate may reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
Tian-Shin Yeh, Changzheng Yuan, Alberto Ascherio, Bernard Rosner, Walter Willett, Deborah Blacker. Long-term Dietary Flavonoid Intake and Subjective Cognitive Decline in US Men and Women. Neurology, 2021; 10.1212/WNL.0000000000012454 DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000012454
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