Older adults whose diet include plenty of flavonoid-rich foods like  berries, apples and tea, could potentially lower the chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease according to new American research.

Alzheimer’s disease is when brain cells begin degenerate (where the brain cells waste away and die) progressively due to a disorder in the brain, causing to. It is the most common cause of dementia, which is caused by a gradual decline in thinking and communication, leading to problems for a person to function independently.

The new study that involved 2,801 participants aged 50 and older, was carried out by researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Massachusetts.

The link between eating foods containing flavonoids and the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease was investigated by the researchers for over a period of nearly 20 years along with other types of dementias.

Flavonoids are natural substances found in pears, apples, berries and onions, basically plants, fruits and vegetables. Plant-based drinks like tea and wine, as well as dark chocolate also contain flavonoids.

Though a wide variety of health benefits have been linked to foods containing flavonoids, older studies only observed the diet over a short period of time while searching for a link between nutrition and dementia.

Participants who had a low intake of three types of flavonoids were revealed to be at higher risk of dementia compared to those with the higher intake, according the results of the new long-term study that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Researchers say the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias is doubled when linked to diets with low intake of flavonoids (found in apples, pears and tea) or a low intake of flavonoid polymers (found in apples, pears and tea).

The risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias was four times as high with diets that have low intake of anthocyanins (found in blueberries, strawberries and red wine).

Low intake was defined by researchers as only consuming one and a half apples while totally leaving out berries and tea from one’s monthly diet.

On the other hand, taking approximately 7.5 cups of blueberries or strawberries per month, eight apples and pears per month, and 19 cups of tea per month is considered high intake.

“Our study gives us a picture of how diet over time might be related to a person’s cognitive decline, as we were able to look at flavonoid intake over many years prior to participants’ dementia diagnoses,” said Paul Jacques, a senior author.

“With no effective drugs currently available for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, preventing disease through a healthy diet is an important consideration.”

“Tea, specifically green tea, and berries are good sources of flavonoids,” said Esra Shishtar, the first author.

“When we look at the study results, we see that the people who may benefit the most from consuming more flavonoids are people at the lowest levels of intake, and it doesn’t take much to improve levels.”

“A cup of tea a day, or some berries two or three times a week, would be adequate.”

At the age of 50, which was the age the participants first had their diets analyzed, was still not too late to make positive diet changes according to Jacques.

“The risk of dementia really starts to increase over age 70, and the take-home message is that when you are approaching 50 or just beyond, you should start thinking about a healthier diet if you haven’t already,” he said.

By Aaron
16th May 20:10

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