Intake of flavonoid-rich wine, tea, and chocolate by elderly men and women is associated with better cognitive test performance.
Nurk E., Refsum H., Drevon CA., Tell GS., Nygaard HA., Engedal K., Smith AD.
In a cross-sectional study, we examined the relation between intake of 3 common foodstuffs that contain flavonoids (chocolate, wine, and tea) and cognitive performance. 2031 participants (70-74 y, 55% women) recruited from the population-based Hordaland Health Study in Norway underwent cognitive testing. A cognitive test battery included the Kendrick Object Learning Test, Trail Making Test, part A (TMT-A), modified versions of the Digit Symbol Test, Block Design, Mini-Mental State Examination, and Controlled Oral Word Association Test. Poor cognitive performance was defined as a score in the highest decile for the TMT-A and in the lowest decile for all other tests. A self-reported FFQ was used to assess habitual food intake. Participants who consumed chocolate, wine, or tea had significantly better mean test scores and lower prevalence of poor cognitive performance than those who did not. Participants who consumed all 3 studied items had the best test scores and the lowest risks for poor test performance. The associations between intake of these foodstuffs and cognition were dose dependent, with maximum effect at intakes of approximately 10 g/d for chocolate and approximately 75-100 mL/d for wine, but approximately linear for tea. Most cognitive functions tested were influenced by intake of these 3 foodstuffs. The effect was most pronounced for wine and modestly weaker for chocolate intake. Thus, in the elderly, a diet high in some flavonoid-rich foods is associated with better performance in several cognitive abilities in a dose-dependent manner.