March 28, 2013

Nine Foods to Help Prevent Dementia

A new report from the Alzheimer's Association says that one out of three seniors die with Alzheimer's, although that is not necessarily the cause of death. While research is still ongoing about how to stave off Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, some research suggests that certain foods may help protect against mental decline and even prevent brain-wasting diseases. Alzheimer's is identified with inflammation, so the thinking is that foods with anti-inflammatory properties may be able to delay age-related cognitive disorders. Nine commonly available foods could help prevent mental deterioration, and they even taste good.

1. Dark chocolate. Studies show that the flavonoids in cocoa increase blood flow to the brain and may help to protect against conditions that reduce cerebral blood flow, such as dementia and stroke.

2. Red wine. Drinking wine in moderation can protect cognitive function and decrease the risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia. This is due to the high levels of flavonoids and possibly other polyphenolics such as resveratrol in red wine.

3. Clams. It's thought that when vitamin B12 levels are low, blood levels of homocysteine will raise, significantly increasing the risk for dementia, heart attack and other ailments. Clams contain 98.9 micrograms of vitamin B12 in just a 100-gram serving, or 1,648 percent of the recommended dietary allowance.

4. Asparagus. One study found that individuals who were deficient in folate, a form of vitamin B9, were 3.5 times more likely to develop dementia. One cup of asparagus will take care of nearly 66 percent of your daily folate needs.

5. Wild salmon. According to one study, an average of three servings of oily fish a week adds up to an almost 50 percent lower risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia. The reason is the omega-3 fatty acid and other nutrients such as vitamin D and B12 can help to prevent neurodegenerative disorders.

6. Walnuts. In moderation, walnuts were found to help improve motor and cognitive skills in older rodents, due, it is believed, to a combination of polyphenols, omega-3 fats and other bioactive substances.

7. Cherries. The antioxidant compounds, anthocyanins, which give cherries their bright red color, possess anti-inflammatory properties that could work like pain medications but without the nasty side effects.

8. Turmeric. A study found that curcumin in turmeric, commonly used in curry dishes, removes plaques from the brain. Plaques are thought to contribute to the degradation of brain cells and lead to Alzheimer's disease.

9. Apples. The skins of apples contain quercetin, found to protect the brain from damages associated with Alzheimer's disease, in studies conducted by Cornell University.


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