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 Harvard nutrition researcher Walter Willet, followed almost 50,000 men and women whose average age was 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 mg of flavonoids a day helps combat cognitive decline. (Three and a half ounces of strawberries dishes up around 180 mg; a medium apple, 113 mg.)
Unfortunately, adults in the U.S. only get about 200-250 mg 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.
Even better: They also turn out to be anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic.
So make your life a bowl full of cherries — along with other colorful flavonoid-rich foods.