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Tea with breakfast and wine with dinner could reduce risk of dementia

The number of dementia cases worldwide is expected to tripled to more than 150 million by 2050.

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Granola breakfast in ceramic bowl served with fresh milk, cranberry jam and black tea over brown texture background. Top View
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By Mark Waghorn via SWNS

Tea with breakfast and a glass of red wine with dinner could slash the risk of developing dementia, according to new research.

The beverages are rich in antioxidant flavonols - plant chemicals that boost blood flow to the brain, say scientists.

Older people who consumed most had better memory skills. The antioxidants are also found in fruit and vegetables.

"It's exciting our study shows making specific diet choices may lead to a slower rate of cognitive decline," said lead author Dr. Thomas Holland, of Rush University.

Flavonols are pigments. Drinking and eating a "rainbow of colors" ensures you get all the different ones.

Holland and colleagues tracked 961 Americans in their 70s and 80s for an average of seven years.

Cognitive scores of those who had the highest intake - about a black of cup tea a day - fell 40 percent slower per decade than peers with the least.

Flavonols were broken down into five different types - kaempferol, isorhamnetin, myricetin, quercetin and isorhamnetin.

Kaempferol, abundant in leafy green vegetables, kale and tea had the biggest benefit followed by myricetin - which is found in red wine.

Then came quercetin - also in tea and kale as well as tomatoes and apples. Isorhamnetin which is in olive oil had no effect.

The results stood after taking into account other factors such as age, sex and smoking history.

Holland believes the phenomenon is due to the "inherent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of flavonols."

"Something as simple as eating more fruits and vegetables and drinking more tea is an easy way for people to take an active role in maintaining their brain health," he said.

The number of dementia cases worldwide is expected to tripled to more than 150 million by 2050.

With no cure in sight protective lifestyle behaviors, such as eating healthily and getting plenty of exercise, are currently seen as the best bet.

Participants completed annual cognitive and memory tests such as remembering words and numbers and filled out food questionnaires.

They were also asked about their level of education and how much time they spent doing exercise and mentally engaging activities like reading and playing games.

The volunteers were divided into five groups based on the amount of flavonols in their diet - the lowest about 5 mg per day and the highest 15 mg.

Rates of memory decline were worked out using an overall global score summarizing 19 cognitive tests.

Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia affects more than 920,000 Britons - a figure that will rise to two million within the next three decades. The study is in Neurology.

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