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New Research: Micronutrients in colorful fruits & vegetables linked to improved brain health

What kind of study was this?

This was a three-part observational study that included studying participants over time (longitudinal) and at one point in time (cross-sectional) and comparing outcomes in twins (co-twin analysis). All three parts were observational, which means that the researchers didn’t intervene or conduct any experiments to change the way research participants behaved.

Instead, the researchers recruited a bunch of participants to fill out questionnaires, and then researchers used statistical methods to see if there were any strong connections over time, at a single point in time, or between twin pairs among the variables measured in the questionnaires.

What did researchers want to know?

Researchers were interested in finding out if there was a connection between regularly eating fruits and veggies with micronutrients called flavonoids and slowing aging in the brain.

What did the researchers actually do?

The researchers asked twins to fill out food-frequency questionnaires that asked how often they consumed particular foods and had the twins submit to cognitive testing. Over a thousand participants filled out the questionnaire and came in for cognitive testing at least once. These were included in the single time point (cross-sectional) analysis. Over 200 did this twice, once in 1999 and again in 2009. These are included in the longitudinal analysis.

What did the researchers find?

They found that some flavonoids (flavonones, found in citrus fruits, and anthocyanins, found in berries) were connected to improved brain health over time. At a single point in time, higher consumption of foods with flavonones, anthocyanins, and proanthocyanidins (found in grapes, strawberries, and blueberries) was connected to higher scores on a learning test. And when they compared twins, they found the twin that reported eating more fruits and veggies with flavonoids had larger brains!

What does this mean for parents and kids?

This study was done in older adults (average age was 56 years old), but many other studies have also found a connection between colorful fruits and veggies, which are high in flavonoids, and brain health. The more colorful you can make your family’s snacks and meals, the better. The Family Thrive dietitian, Lexi Hall, RD, suggests having color days (red, blue, green!) when you bring your child to the grocery store or farmer’s market. Colorful fruits and veggies aren’t just delicious, they’re brain boosters!


Original article:
Jennings, A., Steves, C.J., Macgregor, A. et al. Increased habitual flavonoid intake predicts attenuation of cognitive ageing in twins. BMC Med 19, 185 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-021-02057-7

New Research: Micronutrients in colorful fruits & vegetables linked to improved brain health

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New Research: Micronutrients in colorful fruits & vegetables linked to improved brain health

Have you ever heard that a healthy plate of food should look like the rainbow? This study showed that eating more colorful fruits and veggies is linked to better brain health, faster cognition, and bigger brains.

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Fierce Food: Easy

50/50 mixes of powerful veggies and starchy favorites

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Maximize nutrients, minimize sugar and starch

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What kind of study was this?

This was a three-part observational study that included studying participants over time (longitudinal) and at one point in time (cross-sectional) and comparing outcomes in twins (co-twin analysis). All three parts were observational, which means that the researchers didn’t intervene or conduct any experiments to change the way research participants behaved.

Instead, the researchers recruited a bunch of participants to fill out questionnaires, and then researchers used statistical methods to see if there were any strong connections over time, at a single point in time, or between twin pairs among the variables measured in the questionnaires.

What did researchers want to know?

Researchers were interested in finding out if there was a connection between regularly eating fruits and veggies with micronutrients called flavonoids and slowing aging in the brain.

What did the researchers actually do?

The researchers asked twins to fill out food-frequency questionnaires that asked how often they consumed particular foods and had the twins submit to cognitive testing. Over a thousand participants filled out the questionnaire and came in for cognitive testing at least once. These were included in the single time point (cross-sectional) analysis. Over 200 did this twice, once in 1999 and again in 2009. These are included in the longitudinal analysis.

What did the researchers find?

They found that some flavonoids (flavonones, found in citrus fruits, and anthocyanins, found in berries) were connected to improved brain health over time. At a single point in time, higher consumption of foods with flavonones, anthocyanins, and proanthocyanidins (found in grapes, strawberries, and blueberries) was connected to higher scores on a learning test. And when they compared twins, they found the twin that reported eating more fruits and veggies with flavonoids had larger brains!

What does this mean for parents and kids?

This study was done in older adults (average age was 56 years old), but many other studies have also found a connection between colorful fruits and veggies, which are high in flavonoids, and brain health. The more colorful you can make your family’s snacks and meals, the better. The Family Thrive dietitian, Lexi Hall, RD, suggests having color days (red, blue, green!) when you bring your child to the grocery store or farmer’s market. Colorful fruits and veggies aren’t just delicious, they’re brain boosters!


Original article:
Jennings, A., Steves, C.J., Macgregor, A. et al. Increased habitual flavonoid intake predicts attenuation of cognitive ageing in twins. BMC Med 19, 185 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-021-02057-7

What kind of study was this?

This was a three-part observational study that included studying participants over time (longitudinal) and at one point in time (cross-sectional) and comparing outcomes in twins (co-twin analysis). All three parts were observational, which means that the researchers didn’t intervene or conduct any experiments to change the way research participants behaved.

Instead, the researchers recruited a bunch of participants to fill out questionnaires, and then researchers used statistical methods to see if there were any strong connections over time, at a single point in time, or between twin pairs among the variables measured in the questionnaires.

What did researchers want to know?

Researchers were interested in finding out if there was a connection between regularly eating fruits and veggies with micronutrients called flavonoids and slowing aging in the brain.

What did the researchers actually do?

The researchers asked twins to fill out food-frequency questionnaires that asked how often they consumed particular foods and had the twins submit to cognitive testing. Over a thousand participants filled out the questionnaire and came in for cognitive testing at least once. These were included in the single time point (cross-sectional) analysis. Over 200 did this twice, once in 1999 and again in 2009. These are included in the longitudinal analysis.

What did the researchers find?

They found that some flavonoids (flavonones, found in citrus fruits, and anthocyanins, found in berries) were connected to improved brain health over time. At a single point in time, higher consumption of foods with flavonones, anthocyanins, and proanthocyanidins (found in grapes, strawberries, and blueberries) was connected to higher scores on a learning test. And when they compared twins, they found the twin that reported eating more fruits and veggies with flavonoids had larger brains!

What does this mean for parents and kids?

This study was done in older adults (average age was 56 years old), but many other studies have also found a connection between colorful fruits and veggies, which are high in flavonoids, and brain health. The more colorful you can make your family’s snacks and meals, the better. The Family Thrive dietitian, Lexi Hall, RD, suggests having color days (red, blue, green!) when you bring your child to the grocery store or farmer’s market. Colorful fruits and veggies aren’t just delicious, they’re brain boosters!


Original article:
Jennings, A., Steves, C.J., Macgregor, A. et al. Increased habitual flavonoid intake predicts attenuation of cognitive ageing in twins. BMC Med 19, 185 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-021-02057-7

What kind of study was this?

This was a three-part observational study that included studying participants over time (longitudinal) and at one point in time (cross-sectional) and comparing outcomes in twins (co-twin analysis). All three parts were observational, which means that the researchers didn’t intervene or conduct any experiments to change the way research participants behaved.

Instead, the researchers recruited a bunch of participants to fill out questionnaires, and then researchers used statistical methods to see if there were any strong connections over time, at a single point in time, or between twin pairs among the variables measured in the questionnaires.

What did researchers want to know?

Researchers were interested in finding out if there was a connection between regularly eating fruits and veggies with micronutrients called flavonoids and slowing aging in the brain.

What did the researchers actually do?

The researchers asked twins to fill out food-frequency questionnaires that asked how often they consumed particular foods and had the twins submit to cognitive testing. Over a thousand participants filled out the questionnaire and came in for cognitive testing at least once. These were included in the single time point (cross-sectional) analysis. Over 200 did this twice, once in 1999 and again in 2009. These are included in the longitudinal analysis.

What did the researchers find?

They found that some flavonoids (flavonones, found in citrus fruits, and anthocyanins, found in berries) were connected to improved brain health over time. At a single point in time, higher consumption of foods with flavonones, anthocyanins, and proanthocyanidins (found in grapes, strawberries, and blueberries) was connected to higher scores on a learning test. And when they compared twins, they found the twin that reported eating more fruits and veggies with flavonoids had larger brains!

What does this mean for parents and kids?

This study was done in older adults (average age was 56 years old), but many other studies have also found a connection between colorful fruits and veggies, which are high in flavonoids, and brain health. The more colorful you can make your family’s snacks and meals, the better. The Family Thrive dietitian, Lexi Hall, RD, suggests having color days (red, blue, green!) when you bring your child to the grocery store or farmer’s market. Colorful fruits and veggies aren’t just delicious, they’re brain boosters!


Original article:
Jennings, A., Steves, C.J., Macgregor, A. et al. Increased habitual flavonoid intake predicts attenuation of cognitive ageing in twins. BMC Med 19, 185 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-021-02057-7

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