A diet rich in flavonoids could possibly reduce the risk of subjective cognitive decline. Researchers say that it’s time to add more oranges, peppers, apples, and pears to the plate than ever before.
“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,” said study author Dr.Walter Willet of Harvard University in Boston.
Subjective Cognitive Decline – A Global Health Issue
Subjective Cognitive Decline (SCD) is the self-reported experience of worsening or more frequent confusion or memory loss. The cognitive decline associated with this condition ranges from mild cognitive impairment to dementia.
According to the CDC, one in nine adults in the world has subjective cognitive decline (SCD). This condition can have implications for living with and managing a chronic disease or performing everyday activities like cooking or cleaning.
What Could Flavonoids do with SCD?
For the current study, the research team followed 49,493 women from the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) conducted during 1984-2006, and 27,842 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS) conducted during 1986-2002.
‘People who follow a diet rich in flavonoids have a 20% less risk of developing cognitive decline than people who do not follow it. Flavones and anthocyanins are particularly helpful in promoting long-term brain health.’
The participants responded to several questionnaires about how often they ate various foods over 20 years of follow-up. The participants also evaluated their own cognitive abilities based on how good they are at remembering recent events and a list of items.
On average, the highest 20% of consumers of flavonoids had about 600 milligrams in their diet, while the lowest 20% of flavonoid consumers had about 150 milligrams each day. After adjusting for age and total caloric intake the team found that the former had 20% less risk of self-reported cognitive decline than the latter.
Does the Type of Flavonoid Matter?
“While it is possible other phytochemicals are at work here, a colorful diet rich in flavonoids and specifically flavones and anthocyaninsseems to be a good bet for promoting long-term brain health,” said Dr.Willet.
The study reports that flavones which are found in some spices and yellow or orange fruits and vegetables were associated with the reduction of the risk of cognitive decline by 38% whereas anthocyanins, found in berries reduced the risk of cognitive decline by 24%
Here’s How You Can Fill Your Plate With Flavonoids
- Aim for filling your plate with colorful bell peppers daily
- Make an herbal salad rich in celery, parsley, and mint
- Take your flavonoid-rich tea on tea-times
- Try adding berries to your oatmeal
- Enjoy munching dark chocolate
- Yeh TS, Yuan C, Ascherio A, Rosner B, Willett W, Blacker D. Long-term Dietary Flavonoid Intake and Subjective Cognitive Decline in US Men and Women. Neurology. 2021 Jul 28:10.1212/WNL.00000000000012454. doi: 10.1212/WNL.00000000000012454. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34321362.
- Subjective Cognitive Decline ?? A Public Health Issue – (https://www.cdc.gov/aging/data/subjective-cognitive-decline-brief.html)