We all know that regular consumption of fresh food (fruits and vegetables) is a healthy habit. The main reasons for this lie in its composition – in addition to the numerous vitamins and minerals, rich content of various phytochemicals – which provides health benefits, such as reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes.
More and more science-based knowledge is linking fresh foods, ie foods rich in flavonoid antioxidant components with the reduced risk of cancer and stroke. Foods rich in flavonoid antioxidants: citrus fruits, berries, apples, and various teas and legumes.
A recent study also linked this food to a reduced risk of developing dementia.
The power of flavonoids
Flavonoids are thought to reduce the risk of cancer, making malignant cells unable to divide and grow. They also act as antioxidants, preventing slow cell damage caused by free radicals. They also reduce chronic inflammation in the body, which is one of the main causes of the most common chronic diseases.
Most of these mechanisms have been established through animal or laboratory research, and the information obtained in this way is of incredible importance in terms of understanding how flavonoids behave in the human body.
We know that Alzheimer’s (the most common form of dementia) is associated with a variety of risk factors, including age, genetics, environmental factors, certain diseases, gender, etc. For these reasons, risk assessment and Alzheimer’s prevention are more difficult.
But several studies suggest that a diet rich in flavonoids may help manage some of the typical Alzheimer’s symptoms and improve cognitive abilities. This should come as no surprise, as dementia has been linked to chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Flavonoids are already known for their beneficial effects in preventing these diseases.
There are indeed many types of flavonoids, and research has not identified the specific type of flavonoid antioxidant that makes the difference in preventing dementia until the recently mentioned, recently published research.
Diet and Alzheimer’s disease
A recent study in The American Journal of CLINICAL NUTRITION, Oxford, found that a diet rich in flavonoids reduced the risk of developing dementia.
The researchers followed more than 2,800 respondents aged between 28 and 62 for almost 20 years. During the research, the intake of flavonoids from the diet was adequately measured and the average value of the intake of flavonoids was estimated through statistical operations.
Long-term high dietary flavonoid intake is directly related to a reduced risk of dementia, regardless of genetic factors, age, existing diagnoses, blood pressure, cholesterol, and other factors.
However, the exact amounts of flavonoids that need to be taken to get this effect have not been determined, but three types of these antioxidant components are highlighted that have the most positive effect in reducing cognitive impairment: flavonols, anthocyanins, and flavonoid polymers.
It is also important to note that the study does not find a cause-and-effect relationship between this diet and a reduced risk of dementia, but only a specific relationship.
Researchers conclude that fresh food can not cure dementia, but that such a diet, along with the implementation of what means a healthy lifestyle (maintaining a healthy weight), not smoking, regular physical activity, etc.) can significantly reduce the risk of occurrence of cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s and other common types of dementia.
Which foods are rich in these flavonoids?
Foods rich in flavonoids, which appear in this study: oranges, various teas, apples, bean fruit, pears, and strawberries. Tea, apples, and pears are the most common sources of flavonols and flavonoid polymers. Anthocyanins, on the other hand, are most concentrated in berry fruits and red wine.
Prevention of cognitive impairment is another reason plus to regularly consume fresh seasonal fruits, which are nutritionally concentrated foods.
This food, in addition to refreshing and giving us energy, will help us control our body weight (low in calories) and will provide us with all the necessary micronutrients (high nutritional value).