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Nutrition News: Eat Your Fruits and Veggies

Charlyn Fargo on

For those of us spending more time at home, the refrigerator may be a little too accessible, making it easier to snack a little more often.

Whether we're working from home or not, what we put into our bodies counts. And the little steps we take -- or don't take -- toward healthy eating add up to a journey.

To encourage all of us to take better steps, here's another reason to turn to fruits and vegetables instead of another chocolate chip cookie or a handful of potato chips. With the fruits and vegetables, you're adding good nutrients called flavonols.

A new study finds that people who eat or drink more foods with flavonols (an antioxidant found in nearly all fruits, vegetables and tea) may be less likely to develop Alzheimer's dementia years later. The study was published in the journal Neurology.

So, along with doing that jigsaw puzzle or word search to keep your brain active, consider what you're eating.

Dr. Thomas Holland, lead researcher at Rush University in Chicago, summarizes that eating more fruits and vegetables and drinking more tea could be an easy way for people to stave off Alzheimer's dementia. The study involved 921 people with an average age of 81 who had not been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. The people filled out questionnaires each year on how often they ate certain foods as well as time spent doing other activities. Participants were tested yearly for six years to see whether they had developed Alzheimer's. Participants were divided into five groups based on how much flavonol they consumed.

 

The average flavonol intake among American adults is 16 to 20 milligrams per day. In the study, flavonol intake ranged from 5.3 milligrams per day to 15.3 milligrams per day.

The study found those in the highest group were 48% less likely to develop Alzheimer's than those in the lower group.

The bottom line? While the study doesn't prove that flavonols directly cause a reduction in disease risk, there's an association between more fruits and vegetables and less Alzheimer's risk. That's enough to convince me to pass on the chips and cookies for more broccoli, Brussels sprouts and beans. And another glass of tea.

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