There are already many clinical studies that demonstrate the benefits of eating more fruit and vegetables. What stands out about a recently reviewed study published by Walter Willett, MD, DrPH, of Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts in American Academy of Neurology, is there is mounting evidence suggesting flavonoids are powerhouses when it comes to preventing your thinking skills from declining as you get older. “Our results are exciting because they show that making simple changes to your diet could help prevent cognitive decline,” he says.
According to his study, many flavonoid-rich foods, such as apples and pears, and others fruits and vegetables like strawberries, citrus, celery, peppers, bananas as well as red wine were significantly associated with lower odds of SCD, Subjective Cognitive Decline.
As reported on N.Neurology.org, the study followed 49,493 women from the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) (1984-2006) and 27,842 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS) (1986-2002). Poisson regression, a generalised linear model form of regression analysis used to model count data and contingency tables, was used to evaluate the associations between dietary flavonoids (flavonols, flavones, flavanones, flavan-3-ols, anthocyanins, polymeric flavonoids, and proanthocyanidins) and subsequent SCD. For the NHS, long-term average dietary intake was calculated from seven repeated food frequency questionnaires (SFFQs) and SCD was assessed in 2012 and 2014. For the HPFS, average dietary intake was calculated from five repeated SFFQs, and SCD was assessed in 2008 and 2012.
The results showed that a higher intake of total flavonoids was associated with lower odds of SCD.
Many flavonoid-rich foods, such as apples/pears, strawberries, citrus, celery, peppers, and bananas, were significantly associated with lower odds of SCD. The writer concluded that “our findings support a benefit of higher flavonoid intakes for maintaining cognitive function in US men and women.”
Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing is a wholly grower-owned organisation and the largest exporter of South African apples and pears. Tru-Cape’s Quality Assurance Manager, Henk Griessel, a plant biologist by training, says that the company is always looking out for verified studies that prove the healthful benefits of eating apples and pears. “This study adds to our understanding of why eating fruit and vegetables is so important to reduce the risk of brain-related decline associated with ageing. Adding flavonoids to the group of naturally occurring fruit substances that prevent the many facets of ageing underpins the importance of eating more fruit to reduce the risk of dementia. And, don’t forget that red wine is also on that list of flavonoid-rich substances.”
“We already know that DHQ, a form of the antioxidant Quercetin, a plant flavonol from the flavonoid group of polyphenols, has been demonstrated to reduce the inflation-causing free radicals by binding to them. “Simply put, human deterioration can be likened to metal rusting. We already know that enzymes in antioxidants act as a form of human rust-proofing but what this study seems to also suggest is that those same enzymes reduce and even help repair the kind of brain damage that leads to a host of diseases associated with dementia,” Griessel ends.
Read the entire study here.