We Know Flavonoids Benefit Us But Can They Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer’s?
Flavonoids are beneficial compounds naturally found in many fruits and vegetables, as well as in plant products such as wine, tea, and chocolate. Rich in antioxidant activity, flavonoids can help the body ward off every-day toxins, helping you to stay healthy and decrease your risk of some chronic health conditions. Recent studies show that eating apples and other foods containing flavonoids may even reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Perhaps you have a loved one in hospice in San Mateo and elsewhere suffering from Alzheimer’s. Perhaps you wonder how you can reduce your own risk of developing the disease. It all starts with eating healthy.
The report, outlined on Healthline, says that study participants consuming the most flavonoids experienced a 48% lower chance of getting Alzheimer’s. Overall, experts say that a healthy diet, combined with foods rich in flavonoids, as well as good amounts of restful sleep and regular exercise, can reduce the risk for dementia. Found in fruits such as berries, apples, and pears, and vegetables such as spinach and kale, flavonoids are believed to improve heart health and cut down on cancer risk. That much was known. But the latest studies show flavonoid consumption can also improve brain health.
Other benefits abound. Even making small changes in your diet can help. Even with moderate consumption, you can reduce cardiovascular- and cancer-related mortality. To get the most benefits out of your diet, try to go for five colors a day. Shouldn’t be too much of a challenge, as flavonoids are abundant in colorful plants, such as blueberries, plums, apples, oranges, cherries, and spinach. They’re also abundant in dark chocolate, soy products, tea, red wine, and nuts, says the AARP. The key is variety. Switch things up every once in a while. If you always reach for an apple, try some strawberries instead. If peanuts are your go-to snack, give hazelnuts, pecans, or almonds a chance.
Antioxidant-Rich Flavonoids to Try
- red wine
Foods With Flavan-3-ols
- black tea
- white tea
- green tea
- oolong tea
- cocoa and chocolate products
- purple and red grapes
Foods with Flavones
These foods help with inflammation.
- red peppers
What Do Flavonoids Do?
A lot, actually. Flavonoids help regulate cellular activity and stave off free radicals that put oxidative stress on the body. In a nutshell, they help your body function at its most efficient level while making sure it is protected against everyday stressors and toxins. These powerful antioxidant agents help you fight off potentially harmful molecules that may be introduced into the body. While your body produces antioxidants in a natural way, you can also ingest them through foods like dark chocolate, legumes, and colorful fruits and vegetables.
In addition to improving brain health, flavonoids can also:
- Reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke
- Help you manage high blood pressure
- Decrease risk of Type II Diabetes
- Help stop cancer cells from multiplying
Flavonoids and Brain Health
There are two types of flavonoids: luteolin and diosmin. Both are shown to reduce levels of beta-amyloid (an indicative symptom of Alzheimer’s disease) in the brain, says Alzheimers.net. Luteolin is found in green peppers and tomatoes, while lemons are high in diosmin. In addition, flavonoids called “anthocyanins,” found in red berries, have been associated with decreasing cardiovascular risks. Turns out, what’s good for your heart is also good for your brain (cardiovascular disease boosts your risk of Alzheimer’s). This is why flavonoids of all kinds are recommended for brain health and to prevent Alzheimer’s. Berries in particular are recommended daily, due to strong evidence showing regular intake (half cup twice a week of blueberries or strawberries) was associated with a delayed cognitive decline for more than two years.
Some of the best antioxidant foods you can eat include:
- Artichoke (boiled)
- Goji berries
- Citrus fruit
- Dark chocolate
- Green tea
- Kidney beans
- Ginger and turmeric
- Wild blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries
Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia. It’s estimated that by 2050, there will be nearly 14 million people over the age of 65 living with Alzheimer’s disease in this country, says Medical News Today. More and more studies suggest that diet plays an important role in the risk of dementia. The Mediterranean diet, a diet that happens to be high in flavonoids, has been associated with a reduced risk of cognitive and memory issues, including Alzheimer’s.
Contact Pathways Home Health and Hospice
Here at Pathways, we have many dementia care resources for both patients and caregivers. We place a big importance on comfort, safety and daily care, communication in dementia, social activities, caregiver support and so much more. Contact us at 888-978-1306 to learn more.