Drinking tea or red wine could ‘halve your risk of developing dementia'
Eating or drinking foods with the antioxidant flavonol could lower your risk of developing dementia, new research suggests. As Metro reports, Flavonol, a group of phytochemicals found in plant pigments, is found in all sorts of edible delights, including nearly all fruits and vegetables, black tea, and red wine. We’d recommend upping your kale and tea consumption before pouring the wine, mind you.
Researchers asked 921 people with an average age of 81 to fill out a questionnaire each year on how often they ate certain foods. They were also asked about other factors, such as their level of education, their physical activity, and how much time they spent doing mentally engaging activities. Participants were tested yearly to see if they had developed Alzheimer’s disease over an average of six years.
220 of the people who took part developed Alzheimer’s during the study, but researchers found that those who ate the highest amount of flavonols were 48% less likely to develop dementia than those who consumed the least. Participants were divided into five groups based on their flavonol intake, with the lowest group having around 5.3mg a day while the highest group consumed an average of 15.3mg a day. Of the people in the highest flavonol level groups, 15% people developed Alzheimer’s, while 30% of people in the lowest group did.
The results were the same after researchers adjusted for other factors that could affect the risk of Alzheimer’s dementia, such as, diabetes, previous heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure. There are different types of flavonols, and these had varying relationships to risks of Alzheimer’s disease.
Pears, olive oil, and tomato sauce have high levels of isohamnetin, for example, and people who had high intake of this type were 38% less likely to develop dementia, while those with high intake of kaempforal – the type found in kale, beans, tea, and broccoli – were 51% less likely to develop dementia. Now for the good news – on average, a cup of black tea has between 8g and 15g of flavonols. So let’s say each day you had a cup of tea and a serving of veg, such as kale or broccoli.
You’d be all set on your flavonols just by doing that. It’s important to note that the study shows an association between dietary flavonols and Alzheimer’s risk but does not prove that flavonols directly cause a reduction in disease risk – more research is needed as other unchecked factors may have been at play. But study author Thomas M. Holland says the results are ‘promising’.
‘Eating more fruits and vegetables and drinking more tea could be a fairly inexpensive and easy way for people to help stave off Alzheimer’s dementia,’ he said. ‘With the elderly population increasing worldwide, any decrease in the number of people with this devastating disease, or even delaying it for a few years, could have an enormous benefit on public health.’