fbpx Skip to content

Your Brain on Plant Chemicals

Improve your mental well-being with certain plant foods, says recent research.

| Earn 1 CEC - Take Quiz

Flavonoids and Alzheimer's

If you want to stay as sharp as a whip, be sure to top your morning cereal with berries and wash it down with a steamy mug of tea.

Based on data collected from 2,800 older adults enrolled in the Framingham Heart Study, those with higher intakes of foods and drinks containing flavonoids—such as berries, pears, apples, dark chocolate and green tea—were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias over 20 years than those who consumed fewer of these antioxidants. This is according to research conducted at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University.

For instance, low intake of a class of flavonoids called anthocyanins, found abundantly in items like blueberries, was associated with a fourfold greater risk of developing dementia. One reason for the brain-benefiting powers of these plant-based chemicals could be that flavonoids work to lessen memory-sapping inflammation. One of the best ways to load up on flavonoids is to eat a rainbow of plant foods daily.

See also: Plant-Based Foods Curb Chronic Disease


Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

FitnessConnect Profile

Related Articles

When you buy something using the retail links in our content, we may earn a small commission. IDEA Health and Fitness Association does not accept money for editorial reviews. Read more about our Terms & Conditions and our Privacy Policy.

IDEAfit+
November-December 2020 IDEA Fitness Journal

Concerned about your place in the new fitness industry? We have 40 years of experience supporting pros just like you! Let’s create a new wellness paradigm together—IDEAfit+ is the extra edge you need. Once you team up with IDEA, be sure to take full advantage of all the benefits of membership.