Why fruits, vegetables, wine, tea may slow down memory decline

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Flavonols are a type of flavonoid, a group of phytochemicals found in plant pigments known for their beneficial effects on health.

In a study from Rush University, scientists found people who eat or drink more foods with antioxidant flavonols, which are found in several fruits and vegetables as well as tea and wine, may have a slower rate of memory decline.

The finding suggests that something as simple as eating more fruits and vegetables and drinking more tea is an easy way for people to take an active role in maintaining their brain health.

In the study, researchers examined 961 people with an average age of 81 without dementia. They filled out a questionnaire each year on how often they ate certain foods. They were followed for an average of seven years.

The people were divided into five equal groups based on the number of flavonols they had in their diet.

The lowest group had an intake of about 5 mg per day and the highest group consumed an average of 15 mg per day; which is equivalent to about one cup of dark leafy greens.

The team found that the cognitive score of people who had the highest intake of flavonols declined at a rate of 0.4 units per decade more slowly than people who had the lowest intake.

They noted this is probably due to the inherent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of flavonols.

The study also broke the flavonol class down into four constituents: kaempferol, quercetin, myricetin, and isorhamnetin.

The top food contributors for each category were: kale, beans, tea, spinach, and broccoli for kaempferol; tomatoes, kale, apples, and tea for quercetin; tea, wine, kale, oranges, and tomatoes for myricetin; and pears, olive oil, wine, and tomato sauce for isorhamnetin.

People who had the highest intake of kaempferol had 0.4 units per decade slower rate of cognitive decline compared to those in the lowest group.

Those with the highest intake of quercetin had 0.2 units per decade slower rate of cognitive decline compared to those in the lowest group.

And people with the highest intake of myricetin had 0.3 units per decade slower rate of cognitive decline compared to those in the lowest group.

The study shows an association between higher amounts of dietary flavonols and slower cognitive decline but does not prove that flavonols directly cause a slower rate of cognitive decline.

If you care about brain health, please read studies about Vitamin B9 deficiency linked to higher dementia risk, and flavonoid-rich foods could help prevent dementia.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies that cranberries could help boost memory, and these antioxidants could help reduce dementia risk.

The study was conducted by Thomas M. Holland et al and published in Neurology.

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