Berries, apples and tea can do wonders for your brain

Looking for an easy way to keep your brain healthy,? Consider eating more berries, consuming more applies and drinking tea. There's good science to support the benefits of getting started early eating a healthy diet for preventing Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. 

Alzheimer's risk significantly lower for older adults who consume these foods

Tufts University scientists looked at Alzheimer's disease risk among older adults and compared those that consumed scant amounts of apples, tea and berries that are loaded with antioxidants; published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 

The study finding was based on conclusions extracted from dietary questionairres submitted during medical exams among heart disease risk patients participating in the Framingham Heart Study. 

One of the important highlights of this study, compared to others is that the risk of the brain disease was analyzed over a 20 year period, versus short term studies that have been published in the past. 

What was observed is that Alzheimer's or other dementia related disease was 2 to 4 times more likely to develop among people who scimp on foods like chocolate, strawberries, pears, blueberries, onions and other plant based foods that contain flavanoids. You can also get antioxidant benefits from drinking red wine. 

Some foods seemed to be better than others. Those that are good for brain health contain flavinols and anthocyanins.

Limited intake of apples, tea and pears (flavinol foods) was found to double a person's chance of Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia. There was a fourfold chance of developing dementia or Alzheimer's  among people with limited intake of blueberries, strawberries and red wine (anthocyanin containing foods). 

Paul Jacques, senior study author reminds us that since there are no drugs to treat dementia it's important to find ways to prevent it. 

For perspective, high intake of foods for optimal brain health was considered 8 apples or pears a month, 7.5 cups of blueberries or strawberries and about 19 cups of tea. That's not even an apple a day for keeping the neurology doctor away. 

Low intake was equal to no tea or berries a month and about one to 1.5 apples. 

According to doctoral student at the time of the study, Esra Shistar: 

“When we look at the study results, we see that the people who may benefit the most from consuming more flavonoids are people at the lowest levels of intake, and it doesn’t take much to improve levels. A cup of tea a day or some berries two or three times a week would be adequate".

Anyone over age 50 should consider getting an early start at a brain healthy diet, though it's never too to begin,  the researchers said.


Shishtar, E., Rogers, G.T., Blumberg, J.B., Au R., and Jacques, P.F. (2020). Long-term dietary flavonoid intake and risk of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias in the Framingham Offspring Cohort. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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