CNN — Eating more flavonols, antioxidants found in many vegetables, fruits, tea and wine, may slow your rate of memory loss, a new study finds.
The cognitive score of people in the study who ate the most flavonols declined 0.4 units per decade more slowly than those who ate the fewest flavonols.
The results held even after adjusting for other factors that can affect memory, such as age, sex and smoking, according to the study recently published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
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“It’s exciting that our study shows making specific diet choices may lead to a slower rate of cognitive decline,” said study author Dr. Thomas Holland, an instructor in the department of internal medicine at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, in a statement.
“Something as simple as eating more fruits and vegetables and drinking more tea is an easy way for people to take an active role in maintaining their brain health.”
Flavonols are cytoprotective, meaning they protect cells, including neurons, so it’s plausible there could be a direct impact on cognition, said Dr. David Katz, a specialist in preventive and lifestyle medicine and nutrition who was not involved in the study.
“But they are also a marker of higher intake of fruits and vegetables — which is good for the brain because it is good for every vital organ, and the organism as a whole,” Katz said in an email.
“They may also be a marker of better overall diet quality, or even greater health consciousness. People who are more health conscious may do things to preserve their cognition, or maybe being more health conscious is a by-product of better cognition.”