If you’re eating rosy reds, dark greens, bright yellows, radiant oranges, and deep purples, you’re in a better position to preserve your memory than if your food is golden brown.
At least those are the findings from a recent Harvard study.
The work found that eating the rainbow (think fruits and vegetables rich in powerful antioxidants called flavonoids) was associated with less trouble thinking and fewer memory problems.
Flavonoids are not only powerful nutrients, but they are also what give fruits and vegetables their color.
They might help preserve memory by fighting inflammation and the accumulation of amyloid, keeping blood vessels healthy, and increasing chemicals that repair brain cells, promote brain cell growth, and strengthen brain cell connections.
Researchers arrived at their data by evaluating and following self-reported diet information of more than 77,000 middle-aged men and women that was collected over 20 years.
The info included how often they ate different types of flavonoid-rich foods and whether or not they reported cognition changes in their 70s.
Some of the changes they asked about included remembering recent events, short lists of items, understanding instructions, following group conversations or tv plots, and more.
They found that those who reported eating the most flavonoids were 19 percent less likely to report trouble with thinking and memory compared to those who ate the least.
Although some flavonoids and foods were more beneficial than the others, it’s not worth getting hung up on the details. If you’re eating a diverse array of colors, you’ll be getting a wide variety of beneficial flavonoids in your diet.
Some of the most beneficial foods included:
- Brussels sprouts
- Yams/sweet potato
- Yellow/orange winter squash