The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)

Up brain health with foods

- Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.shar

In 1986, when Cyndi Lauper sang “True Colors” — “I see your true colors shining through/I see your true colors and that’s why I love you/So don’t be afraid to let them show” — she had no idea just how important it was for everyone to put those true colors on display ... on their breakfast, lunch and dinner plates! But a new study in the journal Neurology reveals the power of colorful fruits and vegetables to protect you from cognitive decline as you get older.

The study, led by renowned Harvard nutrition researcher Walter Willet, followed almost 50,000 men and women, average age 51 at the start of the study, for 20 years. It revealed that eating flavonoid-rich, colorful foods such as apples; celery; red, blue and purple berries and grapes; hot and sweet peppers; eggplant; plums; carrots; citrus fruits; and even thyme and parsley can reduce your risk for encroachin­g dementia by 20%.

The study found that taking in 600 milligrams of flavonoids a day is what it takes to help combat cognitive decline — 3.5 ounces of strawberri­es dishes up around 180 milligrams; a medium apple, 113 milligrams. In the U.S., adults only get about 200 to 250 milligrams a day, just a bit above the study group with the lowest intake and greatest risk of cognition problems.

If you make an effort to increase your intake, you’ll gain flavonoids’ neuroprote­ction. They also turn out to be antiinflam­matory and anti-diabetic. So make your life a bowl full of cherries — and other colorful flavonoid-rich foods.

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