Foods high in flavonoids could slow down cognitive decline

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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.

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

Tea and wine are the primary dietary sources of flavonoids in eastern and western societies, respectively.

Besides, leafy vegetables, onions, apples, berries, cherries, soybeans, and citrus fruits are considered an important source of dietary flavonoids

Previous research has examined the link between cognition and flavonoids. Flavonoids are known to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

In the current study, researchers aimed to examine the associations of dietary intakes of total flavonols and constituents (kaempferol, quercetin, myricetin, and isorhamnetin) on the change in cognition and memory in older people.

They tested 961 participants (60-100 years) of the Rush Memory and Aging Project, a prospective cohort of community-dwelling Chicagoans who were followed for an average of 6.9 years.

These people’s diet was examined using a food frequency questionnaire. Cognitive performance was assessed every year with standardized tests.

The researchers found higher intake of total flavonols and flavonol elements was associated with a slower rate of decline in cognition.

Total flavonol intake was linked to a slower decline in global cognition, episodic memory, semantic memory, perceptual speed, and working memory as well as visuospatial ability.

Analyses of individual flavonol elements showed that intakes of kaempferol and quercetin were associated with slower global cognition. Myricetin and isorhamnetin were not linked to global cognition.

Based on the findings, the team suggests that dietary intakes of total flavonols and several flavonol constituents may be linked to a slower decline in global cognition and multiple cognitive abilities in older people.

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

If you care about nutrition, please read studies about how the Mediterranean diet could protect your brain health and the best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about plant nutrients that could help reduce high blood pressure, and these antioxidants could help reduce dementia risk.

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