In a new study, researchers found that people who eat or drink more foods with the antioxidant flavonol, which is found in nearly all fruits and vegetables as well as tea, may be less likely to develop Alzheimer’s dementia years later.
The research was conducted by a team from Rush University in Chicago.
Flavonols are a type of flavonoid, a group of phytochemicals found in plant pigments known for its beneficial effects on health.
The study examined 921 people with an average age of 81 who did not have Alzheimer’s dementia. The people filled out a questionnaire each year on how often they ate certain foods.
The people were tested yearly to see if they had developed Alzheimer’s dementia. They were followed for an average of six years.
The researchers used various tests to determine that 220 people developed Alzheimer’s dementia during the study.
The people were divided into five groups based on how many flavonols they had in their diet.
The average amount of flavonol intake in US adults is about 16 to 20 milligrams per day. In the study, the lowest group had an intake of about 5.3 mg per day and the highest group consumed an average of 15.3 mg per day.
The team found that people in the highest group were 48% less likely to later develop Alzheimer’s dementia than the people in the lowest group.
Of the 186 people in the highest group, 28 people, or 15%, developed Alzheimer’s dementia, compared to 54 people, or 30%, of the 182 people in the lowest group.
The study also broke the flavonols down into four types: isorhamnetin, kaempferol, myricetin, and quercetin.
The top food contributors for each category were: pears, olive oil, wine and tomato sauce for isorhamnetin; kale, beans, tea, spinach and broccoli for kaempferol; tea, wine, kale, oranges, and tomatoes for myricetin; and tomatoes, kale, apples, and tea for quercetin.
People who had a high intake of isorhamnetin were 38% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s. Those with a high intake of kaempferol were 51% less likely to develop dementia.
And those with a high intake of myricetin were also 38% less likely to develop dementia. Quercetin was not tied to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s dementia.
The team says eating more fruits and vegetables and drinking more tea could be a fairly inexpensive and easy way for people to help stave off Alzheimer’s dementia.
With the elderly population increasing worldwide, any decrease in the number of people with this devastating disease, or even delaying it for a few years, could have an enormous benefit on public health.”
The lead author of the study is Thomas M. Holland, M.D. from Rush University in Chicago.
The study is published in Neurology.
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