Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Flavonoids linked to improved mental health

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A diet rich in flavonoids, compounds in fruit, vegetables, coffee, tea and chocolate, could reduce the decline in mental function associated with age, says a new study from France.

"This study raises the possibility that dietary flavonoid intake is associated with better cognitive evolution," wrote lead author Luc Letenneur in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Cognitive performance declines naturally with age, but the results of the PAQUID (Personnes Agées Quid) study suggests that this could be slowed by increased intake of flavonoids in the diet.

Flavonoids have been receiving interest with a mounting body of science, including epidemiological and laboratory-based, continuing to report the cancer-fighting potential of a number of different flavonoids, such as isoflavones, anthocyanidins and flavonols.

I think this is good news for people who have been dismayed about the report of Linus Pauling Institute that flavonoids are easily metabolized or broken down by the body, leaving doubt is there are any benefits. However, the article above says that:

"This does not preclude the possibility that flavonoids may accumulate in tissues where they might exert local antioxidant effects or that very low concentrations of flavonoids may modulate cell signalling, gene regulation, antiogenesis, and other biological processes by non-antioxidant mechanisms, which may explain the purported health benefits of flavonoids," wrote Silvina Lotito and Balz Frei in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine.

Which is think good insight about flavonoids. More research is needed to confirm the benefits and mechanisms of action. In the meantime, I don't think there is harm in eating more fruits and vegetables -- main sources of flavonoids -- for our good health.

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