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High Intake of Flavonoids May Decrease Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

Flavonoids are a diverse group of phytonutrients (plant chemicals) that are high in antioxidants and found in almost all fruits and vegetables. The main dietary sources of flavonoids include tea, citrus fruit, citrus fruit juices, berries, red wine, apples, and legumes. According to a recent study, high intake of foods and drinks containing flavonoids may decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

For their study, researchers from Tufts University used data from 2,801 participants who took part in the Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort. None of them had Alzheimer’s disease or dementia at baseline. They were followed for an average of 19.7 years.

Participants filled out a dietary questionnaire every four years that was used to measure long-term flavonoid intake. They were classified by intake level of flavonoids (less than or equal to the 15th percentile, 15th-30th percentile, 30th-60th percentile, and greater than 60th percentile). All incidences of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia were recorded.

Participants with the highest intake of flavonoids (greater than 60th percentile) were found to have a 30% lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia compared to those with the lowest intake (less than or equal to the 15th percentile,). These findings stood even after taking into account factors such as education level, smoking status, physical activity, body mass index and overall quality of the participants' diets.

The study was published online ahead of print on April 22, 2020 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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