Eating apples may improve memory

Food scientist, clinical nutritionist and health researcher, Dr Vincent Candrawinata says that aside from amazing health benefits, apples, which are rich in phenolics such as flavonoids, may help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s.

“Flavonoids are phenolic compounds that can be found in many plant products, including apples and other fruits and vegetables. They have strong antioxidant properties that may lower your risk of a heart attack or a stroke,” Dr Vincent explains. They work by regulating cellular activity in the body and fighting off free radicals that can cause oxidative stress on your body. As an antioxidant agent, they also help the body fight off potentially harmful molecules in the body.”

Dr Vincent says new research linking apples to lowered risk of Alzheimer’s disease include nutritional researchers in the US recently discovering a link between the consumption of flavonoid-rich foods such as berries and apples and the lowered likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease and another forms of dementia. They studied 2800 participants, aged 50 plus, discovering those who consumed lower amounts of flavonoid-rich foods were two to four times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s and related dementias over a 20-year span.

They also found that the antioxidants in flavonoids, including in apples and pears, kale and spinach, and chocolate and wine, when absorbed properly are beneficial to our health. Their antioxidant traits avert the damage that results from cellular oxidisation. Studies have shown that higher dietary intakes of flavonoids and their subclass of flavonols might be associated with reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Besides benefitting the brain, flavonoid consumption has also been linked to improved heart health.

Dr Vincent says eating fresh apples daily may protect the brain’s neuron cells against oxidative stress-induced neurotoxicity, which occurs when the body’s nervous system is exposed to natural or manmade toxic substances and alters the normal activity of the nervous system. Eventually, this could lead to disrupting or killing brain neurons. Neurotoxicity can occur because of exposure to substances used in chemotherapy, radiation treatment, drug therapies or even exposure to heavy metals like mercury and certain food additives, pesticides, industrial and cleaning solvents and cosmetics.

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