A simple but effective way to slow down memory decline

I recently read a large study [1] (49,493 women and 27,842 men) from the USA  which showed eating at least half a serving per day of foods rich in flavonoids — like strawberries, oranges, peppers, and apples may reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Decreasing memory and cognitive decline is a major worry for most of us as the population ages. When the solution could be so simple it is always welcome news. This study tells us two types of flavonoids –anthocyanins (found in blueberries, blackberries, and cherries) and flavones (found in some spices and yellow or orange fruits and vegetables) have the most protective effect against declining cognitive function. People who ate about 600 mg daily of flavonoids had the lowest risk of cognitive decline whereas those eating less than 150 mg daily didn’t enjoy the same protection.

The message from this beautiful study is simple- eat more fresh colourful fruits and vegetables to combat age-related cognitive decline caused by oxidative stress.  Antioxidants may keep us sharp!

The beauty of modern science is it proves what may be known for centuries through rigorous study. Ayurveda has taught us for centuries ripe fruits eaten in the proper season are “pure nectar” because they immediately turn into rasa (nutritional fluid) — the first of the seven body tissues and increase our Ojas, which is responsible for improving immunity, happiness, and strength.  The kind of fruits, vegetables and spices that this modern study has recommended are also recognised in Ayurveda for their ability to cleanse the body of toxins or ama.

We do, however, recommend that fruits should be eaten in the morning or in the afternoon and not with meals or especially with dairy products. Mixing fruits with dairy leads to ama build up and lose their beneficial effects against ageing. If you really want to eat fruits with meals you may want to cook them according to Ayurvedic principles.

And don’t forget one of the richest sources of antioxidants is Chyawanprash which is an outstanding preparation to boost immunity and slow down the ageing

[1] Tian-Shin, Y et al (2021) Long-term Dietary Flavonoid Intake and Subjective Cognitive Decline in US Men and Women. Neurology Jul 2021, 10.1212/WNL.0000000000012454; DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000012454

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Dr Rachna Kumar graduated in Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery from India and has continued to develop her skills by attending regular courses in the UK, USA, New Zealand and India. She has practised Ayurveda for 20 years in New Zealand and England. She now offers specialist health and beauty services using Ayurvedic principles for women in Hamilton. www.ayuspa.co.nz
Rachna Kumar BAMS (India), MA (London), Ayurvedic beauty Therapy (London) Ayurveda assessment Immersion (USA).