Photo: PeopleImages/Getty Images
Wine, tea, and dark chocolate — no, these are not the ingredients to the potion of life, but they might as well be. For one thing, they all contain compounds that can ensure good quality of life for the years to come.
Apparently, a new research study has found that tea, wine, dark chocolate, and certain fruits and vegetables can significantly lower the risk of having dementia or even Alzheimer’s disease later on in life. This is all thanks to the flavonoids they contain.
According to Live Science, flavonoids are a group of phytonutrients responsible for the vivid colors of vegetables and fruits, alongside carotenoids. They are known for having various health benefits, such as skin protection, blood pressure and blood sugar regulation, and improved brain function. They also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
In the new study, researchers determined how diets rich in flavonoids helped hamper dementia and Alzheimer’s disease among 2,800 subjects aged 50 and older. It is important to note that dementia and Alzheimer’s are very different since the former has known causes and is potentially reversible, while the latter has unknown causes and is irreversible.
The researchers indicated that even though no effective drug treatments are available against Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, there are “modifiable risk factors” that can lower the risk of developing these conditions. Among these factors is diet and so they sought for evidence on how flavonoid-rich foods can potentially reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
The authors of the study focused on the Mediterranean diet since this dietary pattern emphasizes the need to consume flavonoid-rich fruits and vegetables. They found that this diet might actually play an important role in preventing cognitive problems later on in life.
At the start of the study, all participants did not have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. After some time, a number of them have been diagnosed with mental health problems. Based on the regular surveys they conducted, the researchers found that those who had high intake of flavonoid-rich foods and drinks dramatically reduced their cognitive decline outcomes.
“When we look at the study results, we see that the people who may benefit the most from consuming more flavonoids are people at the lowest levels of intake, and it doesn’t take much to improve levels. A cup of tea a day or some berries two or three times a week would be adequate,” the study’s first author Esra Shishtar said, per Ladders.