Reference Number: 242
Flavonoids are polyphenolic compounds found in varying concentrations in many plant-based foods. Recent studies suggest that flavonoids can be beneficial to both cognitive and physiological health. Long term flavonoid supplementation over a period of weeks or months has been extensively investigated and reviewed, particularly with respect to cognitive ageing and neurodegenerative disease. Significantly less focus has been directed towards the short term effects of single doses of flavonoids on cognition. Here, we review 21 such studies with particular emphasis on the subclass and dose of flavonoids administered, the cognitive domains affected by flavonoid supplementation, and the effect size of the response. The emerging evidence suggests that flavonoids may be beneficial to attention, working memory, and psychomotor processing speed in a general population. Episodic memory effects are less well defined and may be restricted to child or older adult populations. The evidence also points towards a dose-dependent effect of flavonoids, but the physiological mechanisms of action remain unclear. Overall, there is encouraging evidence that flavonoid supplementation can benefit cognitive outcomes within an acute time frame of 0–6 h. But larger studies, combining cognitive and physiological measures, are needed to strengthen the evidence base.
What does this mean for bakers?
This work suggests that flavonoids could have both long and short term benefits for mental health. Good dietary sources of flavonoids include tea, citrus fruit juices and red wine, all of which go very well with a slice of home baked bread or cake! In addition, some of our botanical blends contain legumes, citrus peel and teas which are all good sources of flavonoids.