In the article on page 1, I shared some recent research on foods and nutrients that can support brain function (and vision) as you age. But there’s certainly nothing new about the idea that diet and nutrition plays a key role in protecting you against Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and dementia. For years, I’ve reported on studies showing that a healthy, balanced eating plan not only helps prevent AD, but can actually reverse it.
And one of the most groundbreaking clinical studies I’ve written about came from the nation’s leading Alzheimer’s research center at UCLA. This 2014 study showed that 90 percent of cases of AD were reversed with a healthy diet, supplementation, and lifestyle regimen.1
Since then, other medical centers have signed onto the UCLA protocol. And, of course, I have continued to beat the drum with my Complete Alzheimer’s Prevention and Repair Protocol.
But this concerted effort to alert mainstream medical professionals about the effectiveness of natural approaches for AD and dementia continues to fall on deaf ears. And, as a result, these physicians fail to give hope to their patients.
Instead, the mainstream continues to cling to their faulty theories and drug treatments. (And you and I both know that if their theories are wrong, their drugs certainly can’t get it right.)
But suddenly this summer, (with apologies to Tennessee Williams), there was big “news” about yet another study showing that some specific fruits—including apples, berries, and pears (oh, my!)—protect the brain against AD.
Of course, that’s not really news to me or you. In fact, years ago, I put blueberries in one of my very first dietary supplements under my Smart Science Nutritionals line—a water-soluble powdered extract. And recently, I came out with a potent supplement in capsule form that incorporates concentrated whole foods (grape, turmeric, wild blueberry) with clinically verified brain benefits.
So why is this new study on berries and other fruits being touted as a brand new Alzheimer’s breakthrough? Well, I have some theories about that. But first, let’s take a closer look at the new study and its conclusions.
2,800 people can’t be wrong
Scientists at Tufts University’s Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging observed 2,800 men and women, ages 50 and older, for 20 years.2 Every four years, the participants filled out a questionnaire on the types of foods they ate. The researchers also tracked whether the participants were diagnosed with AD or related dementias.
Results showed that the people who rarely ate foods with three related types of flavonoids had a heightened risk of dementia when compared to the people who regularly ate these foods.
Specifically, people who consumed the fewest blueberries, grapes (red wine), and strawberries (which all contain the flavonoid anthocyanin) had quadruple the risk of AD and dementia compared with the people who consumed the most.
And those who ate fewer apples and pears (which contain flavanol and flavonoid polymers) had double the risk of AD and dementia compared to those who ate the most.
But we’re not even talking about large quantities of fruit here:
- The lowest-intake group consumed no berries, grapes (red wine), or pears—and just one and a half apples, per month
- The highest-intake group consumed seven to eight cups of blueberries, eight apples and pears, and 19 cups of grapes (red wine), per month
Meaning adding just a small quantity of these health foods can ultimately make a big difference—at least where brain health is concerned.
(The best recommendations are to consume at least that many fruits per week—not per month. Just imagine the results if the study participants had eaten that much!)
Flavonoids are also abundant in other healthy foods, such as dark chocolate and onions—although the researchers didn’t study these specific foods’ effects on AD and dementia. But you can—and should—add them to your healthy, balanced diet, too. (In moderation, of course, where dark chocolate is concerned.)
These results are great… but why all the hype now?
So, back to my original question: Why is this study considered “news”?
Well, I think there are several reasons. First, the study was conducted by a prestigious research center in a major medical institution in Boston.
I’ve personally met Jean Mayer, for whom the center is named. He was one of the first scientists to take diet and nutritional science seriously in relation to human health. He was well known and respected among anthropologists and human biologists—which is how I met him in the 1970s— long before mainstream medical researchers paid attention to his work and began to take it seriously.
Second, this new study features the idea of single-ingredient “magic bullets” that are responsible for fighting disease. As I’ve discussed before, this approach is much simpler for the mainstream to wrap their minds around—rather than looking at whole foods, the entire diet, or a complete lifestyle (as was done in the earlier UCLA study, and as I outline in my own Complete Alzheimer’s Prevention and Repair Protocol. To learn more about this comprehensive, online learning tool, click here or call 1-866-747-9421 and ask for order code EOV3W800).
Not to mention, big pharma also likes these types of studies because they could potentially make an enormously profitable pill by isolating and creating a synthetic version of the single, isolated “active ingredient” (a totally flawed approach to natural medicine).
Third, the scientists’ key finding is that greater consumption of foods with flavonoids during a 20-year period reduced the risk of AD by two to four times.
Now that’s a real reduction in risk, in a world where drugs just need to show marginal-percent benefits in order to gain approval. So, in this case, big numbers mean big news.
So, to recap, blueberries, strawberries, apples, and pears are good for your brain. Which is always good news…even if it’s not particularly newsworthy.
But oddly, the benefits of grapes and red wine—which were shown in the study to have just as much dementia protection as the other fruits—didn’t make the headlines or get more than a mention in the report. But once again, you and I know the real story. (And if you need a quick refresher, take a look back at this year’s January issue of Insiders’ Cures.)
1“Reversal of cognitive decline: A novel therapeutic program.” Aging. 2014 Sep;6(9):707-17.
2“Long-term dietary flavonoid intake and risk of Alzheimer disease and related dementias in the Framingham Offspring Cohort.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2020.