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Peppers, berries, leafy greens: What to eat to protect your brain from dementia, Parkinson’s


Eating fruits and vegetables offer a wide range of vitamins and minerals — and just about every nutrient that is beneficial for overall health. So it’s no surprise that they can also decrease your risk of developing dementia later in life. However, particular fruits and vegetables are especially good at fighting off dementia, and they are some of the easiest to obtain.

Keep dementia at bay with these foods

While fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of nutrients in general, some of them contain particular compounds that can reduce the risk of dementia.

  • Peppers – Eating peppers is associated with a significantly lower risk of Parkinson’s disease. Researchers at the University of Washington led by epidemiologist Dr. Susan Searles Nielsen, surveyed the diets of 490 individuals with Parkinson’s disease to assess their lifetime dietary habits. She found that eating vegetables from the Solanaceae or nightshade family (potatoes, tomatoes, aubergines, and peppers) in general – peppers in particular – were associated with significantly reduced the risk of Parkinson’s disease by more than 30 percent overall compared to control groups. The highest advantage was seen with people who ate over two to four peppers per week. In general, red, orange and yellow peppers are more nutrient-rich than green.
  • Berries – Berries are known for their high antioxidant content; in fact, they are some of the most antioxidant-dense foods around, which means they are great for fighting off oxidative stress. Previous research by scientists from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, Washington State University, India’s Annamalai University and Oman’s Sultan Qaboos University College of Medicine and Health Sciences found that all berries are linked to a reduced risk of various forms of dementia. For instance, they found that strawberries decrease cyclooxidation and increased neurological health; bilberries provide antioxidant protection against damage to arteries and neurons; and blueberries were found to be associated with increased memory and learning. (Related: Beat diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and dementia by choosing the right foods.)
  • Salads and green leafy veggies – According to an entry on the MedicalXpress.com, a study by researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago found that “eating one serving of leafy green vegetables a day may aid in preserving memory and thinking skills as a person grows older.” Besides numerous vitamins and minerals found in leafy greens, they also contain folate, a major nutrient that is said to decrease the risk of dementia.

Fast facts about Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease. It affects around 130,000 people in the U.K. alone, usually targeting those over 50 years old.

The disease is caused by the death of dopamine-producing brain cells, or nerve cells in a region of the brain that controls movement. The early stages are marked by hand tremors, speech changes, limb stiffness, impaired balance, difficulty walking and rigidity, which can progress into cognitive plights like depression and dementia. There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but some drugs have been used to manage its symptoms.

Toxic pollutants in the environment can be a major driver for developing Parkinson’s disease, as they can build up in the food supply and affect consumers. For instance, poultry and tuna are leading sources of arsenic; dairy is the top source of lead; and seafood is a major source of mercury.

Minimizing your exposure to pesticides, heavy metals, dairy and other animal products may help prevent the development of this disease, and other health problems. For more stories on what foods are good sources of dementia-fighting nutrients, visit Fruits.news today.

Sources include:

DailyMail.co.uk

MedicalDaily.com

GreenMedInfo.com

MedicalXpress.com

NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov

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