The researchers sorted the diet information into four categories of flavonoids intake. They compared people with the lowest intake to those with the highest intake.
On the low end, people had no berries, about 1.5 apples and no tea during the month. On the highest end, people ate about 7.5 cups of blueberries or strawberries, eight apples or pears and had about 19 cups of tea (green or black) each month.
The researchers found that folks consuming the lowest amounts of apples, pears and tea had twice the risk of developing Alzheimer’s dementia or other related dementias.
Consuming the lowest level of blueberries, strawberries and red wine was associated with a fourfold risk of developing Alzheimer’s or other related dementias.
Jacques said a number of factors are suspected in Alzheimer’s disease, including genetics and environmental considerations. Previous research has suggested that diet is a strong environmental factor, and this study adds to that evidence.
“This study also seems to tell us that the risk of dementia varies with people’s dietary intake,” Jacques said.
Heather Snyder, vice president of medical and scientific operations for the Alzheimer’s Association, agreed that many factors contribute to Alzheimer’s and other related dementias.
“Alzheimer’s disease is complex. Brains are complex. Looking across the life course, genetics, nutrition, education and other factors are all part of a puzzle. This study is another piece in that puzzle,” she said.
Snyder said a strength of this study is its long-term follow-up. But she said it’s important to learn the effect of diet in a larger, more diverse population.
Both experts said it’s better to have a healthy diet throughout your life. But both also said there are likely brain-health benefits if you change your diet to healthier fare no matter what your age.
The study was published online recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Author: Serena Gordon
Source: Web MD: Fruits, Tea May Help Fend Off Alzheimer’s Disease