A new study suggests that eating colorful foods may help defend against dementia, so head to the grocery store to buy berries, orange juice, and apples.
Research from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health suggests that the more colorful fruits and vegetables a person eats, the better their protection against cognitive decline.
They found that people who consumed only half a serving per day of natural compounds called flavonoids – a type of antioxidant – had a 20% lower risk of mental decline.
Flavonoids are found in a variety of fruits and vegetables, including bananas, apples, pears, peppers, celery, citrus fruits, berries, cherries, and more.
Currently, there is no cure for cognitive decline or dementia. There is a new drug for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, but it is very controversial. At this point, lifestyle measures like diet and exercise are the most recommended defenses against dementia.
The study involved 77,000 adults participating in large-scale research. The mean age of women was 48 and the mean age of men was 51 at the start. They answered several questionnaires over several years on diet and memory.
Two types of flavonoids have shown the most benefit. The intake of flavones – a type of flavonoid found in certain spices and yellow and orange fruits and vegetables, had the strongest protective qualities. They were associated with a 38% lower risk.
Anthocyanins, found in darker fruits like berries and cherries, were associated with a 24% lower risk of cognitive decline.
Why these antioxidants were effective is still unknown, but many experts hypothesize that they may reduce amyloid deposits in the brain, which are a major factor in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
It is recommended that you add as many of these antioxidants as possible to your diet. The highest amount people ate in the study per day was 600 milligrams. The lowest was around 150 mg. An apple contains about 110 mg.
Eating three to five servings of fruits and vegetables a day can help your overall health and prevent dementia, so be sure to eat the rainbow!