Cognitive impairment is less common among individuals who regularly consume foods rich in flavonoids.
People who frequently eat strawberries, peppers, apples and oranges are 20% less likely to lose their memory.
Flavones and anthocyanins have been found to be the most effective flavonoids that prevent cognitive decline.
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Stored in plants, flavonoids are natural elements that are classified as strong antioxidants.
Previous studies have discovered that older adults who have low amounts of antioxidants are more at risk of cognitive impairment.
However, new findings have suggested that regularly eating colourful foods high in flavonoids can reduce this risk. Strawberries contain 180mg of flavonoids in a standard serving and each apple has around 113mg of flavonoids.
Lead researcher, Dr Walter Willett said: “There is mounting evidence suggesting flavonoids are powerhouses when it comes to preventing your thinking skills from declining as you get older.
“Our results are exciting because they show that making simple changes to your diet could help prevent cognitive decline.”
Academics from the American Academy of Neurology studied the food intake of nearly 50,000 middle-aged females and nearly 28,000 middle-aged males.
The participants filled in numerous surveys to notify the researchers what meals they consume and how often they eat foods high in flavonoids.
Survey questions also focused on the participant’s memory ability to detect whether or not they show signs of cognitive impairment.
According to the results, the participants who had around 600mg of flavonoids in their diet showed less signs of cognitive decline.
Whereas, those who consumed around 150mg of flavonoids in their diet were showing more signs of cognitive decline.
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The findings reveal that memory loss is 38% more protected after regularly eating certain spices and yellow or orange fruits and vegetables which contain flavones.
Additionally, the results disclose that anthocyanins stored in blackberries, cherries and blueberries decrease cognitive impairment by 24%.
Dr Willett said: “The people in our study who did the best over time ate an average of at least half a serving per day of foods like orange juice, oranges, peppers, celery, grapefruits, grapefruit juice, apples and pears.
“While it is possible other phytochemicals are at work here, a colourful diet rich in flavonoids, and specifically flavones and anthocyanins, seems to be a good bet for promoting long-term brain health.
He added: “And it’s never too late to start, because we saw those protective relationships whether people were consuming the flavonoids in their diet 20 years ago, or if they started incorporating them more recently.”