Eating Fruits and Vegetables Could Help Conquer Alzheimer’s

A new study suggests that compounds in our most colorful foods can help prevent dementia

Fruits and Vegetables
You already know you should be eating more fruits and vegetables, now you have a new reason.
Tom Brunberg/Unsplash
By Tanner Garrity / February 5, 2020 5:00 am

According to a study published last week in Neurology, filling up on fruits and vegetables could reduce one’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s dementia late in life, The New York Times reports.

A high-fiber, vitamin-rich diet yields near-magical benefits for the body. Consistent fruit and vegetable consumption reduces one’s risk of colon cancer and heart disease, fights inflammation, defends against oxidative stress, and keeps weight gain at bay.

It’s almost gratuitous then that fruits and vegetables could also play a role in preventing one of the world’s most tragic diseases. Four to five million Americans are currently living with some form of dementia, and in nearly 70% of cases that means Alzheimer’s. It’s devastating for the millions more family members who have to watch loved ones lose their daily functioning (while often retaining their consciousness). But compounds called flavonols, which are commonly found in fruit and vegetables — with names like kaempferol, isorhamnetin, and myricetin — just might play a crucial role in lowering that risk.

The study assessed a cohort of 912 dementia-free men and women with an average age of 81, then visited them again six years later. The 221 who developed Alzheimer’s were also most likely to be in the lowest quintile for flavonol intake.

The research is still new, but considering how rock-solid fruits and vegetables are for overall health (one of the biggest rallying cries we heard from nutritionists last year was “Eat colorfully!”), it’s a safe bet to keep loading up on memory-boosting super-fruits like blueberries, pineapples, grapefruit and protein-packed plants like edamame, broccoli and quinoa. And just as importantly — make sure your older folks are, too. Could help tack on a couple more happy years.

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