Plants are loaded with naturally occurring chemicals that appear to help health. And high long-term intakes of some types of plant chemicals called flavonoids are associated with a reduced risk for dementia development, according to a study published online April 22, 2020 by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The researchers assessed the health information of 2,800 dementia-free people (mean age 59 years) who underwent physical exams periodically, performed laboratory tests, and answered diet questionnaires. After 20 years, people who reported the highest consumption of flavonoids were around 40% less likely to develop dementia than people who reported the lowest consumption. There are many different types of flavonoids; those with the greatest link to reduce the risk of dementia came from tea, apples, pears, blueberries and strawberries. A high intake was almost the same as having 7.5 cups of berries, eight apples or pears and 19 cups of tea per month. A low intake was equivalent to not having berries or tea and less than two apples a month. The study was observational and does not demonstrate that a high intake of flavonoids protected people from developing dementia. But researchers say other evidence suggests that flavonoids can stave off brain inflammation and protect brain cells.
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