Valentine’s Day for your Brain

The berries dipped in chocolate and the glass of red wine that you have for Valentine’s Day will do more than add a spark to your love life —  they’ll also help keep your brain healthy.  A study just published by the American Academy of Neurology has found that the more you eat foods with antioxidant flavonols, the less likely you are to develop Alzheimer’s dementia in later years.

Flavonols are a type of flavonoid found in almost all fruits and vegetables, as well as tea.  Flavonoids are plant chemicals that are powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits.  Some of the best sources of flavonoids are onions, tea, strawberries, kale, grapes, Brussels sprouts, citrus fruit, parsley and many spices.  The AAN study broke down the flavonols into three types that reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s by 38% to 51% along with top food sources for each of them:

Isorhamnetin – pears, olive oil, wine, tomato sauce

Kaempferol – kale, beans, tea, spinach, broccoli

Myricetin – tea, wine, kale, oranges and tomatoes

Flavanols are another type of flavonoid and are found in teas, cocoa, grapes, apples, berries, fava beans and red wine.  Keep in mind that dark chocolate is much better for you because the flavanols are found in the cocoa solids which are higher in cocoa powder and dark chocolate.

In addition to helping your brain, antioxidants help prevent the inflammation which leads to chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease.  So go ahead and enjoy your glass of wine and (dark)-chocolate strawberries and have a great Valentine’s Day!

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