Every day, the world is trying to kill you...
Right now, there's a battle inside your body between your army of healthy cells and damaging molecules called "free radicals." These radicals bounce around your system, trying to pull electrons off healthy pieces of your cells. Too many free radicals can lead to massive damage. They alter your proteins, fats, and even DNA.
Now, having some free radicals is important for the healthy functioning of your body.
But if the amount of free radicals is greater than the amount of antioxidants in your body, this leads to something called oxidative stress – which can damage your DNA and lead to cell death.
And while you can't see it happening, the destruction of these cells can lead to some scary things... like inflammation, heart disease, cancer, and dementia.
The trouble is free radicals are byproducts of everyday living. Things like eating, drinking, going outside, and even breathing can create free radicals.
Today, I want to tell you how to fight free radicals with flavonoids. Flavonoids are the most abundant polyphenol, a type of antioxidant that neutralizes harmful free radicals, reducing inflammation.
We've written before that flavonoids help the body manage diseases (like cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease) due to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Flavonoids are found in a huge variety of fruits and vegetables. They even make their way into treats like tea, wine, and chocolate.
And recent research is adding to the long list of flavonoid benefits...
According to a 25-year longitudinal study, which was published in 2020 in the American Academy of Neurology journal, it turns out that eating flavonoids helps protect you against cognitive decline, like Alzheimer's disease and dementia.
The researchers looked at the diets of 75,000 participants aged 50 years (at the start of the study) who are now in their 70s and 80s.
Of the participants, those who ate about 600 milligrams of flavonoids (or 0.02 ounces) per day had a 20% lower risk of cognitive decline than those who only ate 150 milligrams (or 0.005 ounces) per day. You could get more than 300 milligrams of flavonoids with just one cup of green tea.
And a new study that was published last November – out of the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois – shed some new light on the cognitive benefits that come with eating one subcategory of flavonoid in particular: flavonols...
Flavonols are particularly good for managing symptoms of inflammation and cardiovascular disease. And the new Chicago study shows that eating flavonols is also associated with slower cognitive decline...
To determine this, the researchers gathered data from a group of about 960 Chicago residents living in retirement communities and senior public housing. The average participant age was 81 and the study lasted about seven years. None of the participants showed signs of dementia when the study began.
Each year of the study, the participants filled out questionnaires about how often they ate certain foods. They also completed thinking and memory tests that assessed skills like recalling lists of words, remembering a string of numbers, and putting recalled items from a list in the correct order.
The researchers separated the participants into five groups based on the amount of flavonols they typically consumed. One noteworthy factor they uncovered was that the group with the highest flavonol consumption – folks eating an average of 15 milligrams per day (the equivalent to one cup of dark leafy greens) – still ate less than the average daily intake of U.S. adults, which is about 16 milligrams to 20 milligrams. So it seems like when folks need this more for self-preservation, they may end up incidentally eating less.
The researchers found that folks eating one serving of leafy greens (15 milligrams of flavonols) per day experienced cognitive decline at a rate that was 32% slower than those in the lowest group who ate only about 5 milligrams of flavonols per day. So getting plenty of flavonols every day will keep your brain and ability to think in great shape.
Some foods that are loaded with flavonols include:
- Blueberries – There are about 1,100 mg of flavonols per 100 g of blueberries.
- Kale – There are about 170 mg of flavonols per 100 g of raw kale.
- Broccoli – There are about 35 mg of flavonols per 100 g of raw broccoli.
- Onions – There are about 27 mg of flavonols per 100 g of raw onion.
- Apples – There are about 14 mg of flavonols per 100 g of raw apples with the skin on.
- Black tea – There are about 8 mg of flavonols per 100 g of black tea.
- Red wine – There are about 7 mg of flavonols per 100 g of red wine.
So do what I do and keep your brain sharp by eating – and drinking – a rainbow of foods every day.
Keeping your brain healthy is one thing you need to do to enjoy a long and happy healthspan. In my monthly advisory, Retirement Millionaire, I share five of the best ways to lengthen your healthspan so you'll experience significantly less inflammation – and thus fewer aches and pains... More importantly, you'll spend less and less of the end of your life in discomfort.
If you're not already a subscriber, click here to learn more.
What We're Reading...
- USDA database for the flavonoid content of selected foods.
- Something different: Frequently using digital devices to soothe young children may backfire.
Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,
Dr. David Eifrig and the Health & Wealth Bulletin Research Team
January 3, 2023