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High Dietary Intake of Flavonoids Associated With Lower Risk of Cognitive Decline

Flavonoids are a type of compound found in plant that are thought to provide health benefits through their antioxidant properties. Foods that are high in flavonoids include strawberries, oranges, peppers, and apples. A new study has found that people who consume at least half a serving per day of foods high in flavonoids may have a 20% lower risk of cognitive decline.

Participants in the study included 49,493 women who took part in the Nurses’ Health Study and 27,842 men who took part in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Participants had an average age of 51 at the beginning of the study and were followed for approximately 20 years.

Participants completed questionnaires that were used to calculate their intake of different types of flavonoids. Subjective cognitive decline was assessed twice during the 20-year follow-up period.

Participants who consumed the highest amount of flavonoids daily, approximately 600 mg, had a 20% lower risk of cognitive decline compared to those consumed the least, approximately 150 mg. Flavonoids found in orange or yellow fruits and vegetables were found to have the strongest protective qualities, and were associated with a 38% lower risk of cognitive decline. Flavonoids called anthocyanins that are found in blueberries, blackberries, and cherries were associated with a 24% lower risk of cognitive decline.

The study was conducted by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. It was published online ahead of print on July 28, 2021, in the journal Neurology.

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