Flavonoids are naturally-occurring chemicals found in plant foods. They are known for their high antioxidant capability as well as for giving plant foods their rich and vibrant colors, among many other potential health benefits.
This is why many advocate for eating a more naturally “colorful” diet, with the thinking being that the more colorful the diet is, the greater the variety of beneficial and health-protective flavonoids that will be found in the diet.
The question is, among all the benefits flavonoids could offer us, is reducing the risk of dementia one of them?
The answer may be yes.
Researchers from Tufts University, Boston University, and University of California at Davis sought out to see if there was an association between flavonoid intake and certain markers of brain health found in MRI scans. Their results were published in The Journal of Nutrition in June 2020.
Using data from eligible subjects found in the Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort and taking into account numerous confounding factors, they measured flavonoid intake and examined a cross-sectional association between flavonoid intake and three different MRI measures: total brain tissue volume (TBV), white matter hyperintensities volume (WMHV), and hippocampal volume (HV).
What they found was that subjects in the highest quartile of flavonoid intake also had significantly smaller WMHV (a positive result), with WMHV being a marker strongly associated with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD).
Neither TBV nor HV saw similar results, leading the researchers to ponder whether or not flavonoids have special white matter neuroprotective effects.
It is fascinating and exciting to think about, given how easily accessible flavonoids are to the general public.
Flavonoids are found predominantly in fruits and vegetables, particularly those with deep colors, and also many teas.
That makes flavonoid consumption one of the easier health protocols for anybody to follow. You do not need to go hunting for obscure supplements or exotic foods. Eating more colorful fruits and vegetables and drinking healthy teas is about all that it takes to increase flavonoids in your diet.
While this study offers us great results, it is still not the final word on the extent to which flavonoids might be able to reduce risk of ADRD and in determining the most appropriate volumes for each individual. Further research and discussions with one’s licensed health care practitioner can help determine that. But, if flavonoids can offer any sort of protection from ADRD, it could give us a great tool to put in our personal toolboxes to help boost our health and protect ourselves.
And a delicious one too.
So be sure to take this information to your licensed health care practitioner (this article is presented for informational purposes only) to see if incorporating more flavonoids into your diet in a safe way is right for you.
And as always, all the best to you in your pursuit of great!
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