According to a recent observational study, if you want to keep dementia away, you need to focus on lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-cryptoxanthin.
Researchers found that people with the highest amount of these antioxidants in their blood were less likely to develop dementia decades later than their peers with lower levels of the same antioxidants.
In the study researchers investigated blood samples from 7.283 participants aged 45+ in the period of 16 – 17 years. Namely, they looked at the interactions of vitamins A, C and E and the most important carotenoids, and their possible influence on developing Alzheimer’s and all-cause dementia. As the result, antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin turned to reduce risk of all-cause dementia by 7%. In its turn, beta-cryptoxanthin seems to have even a stronger influence, reducing the risk of dementia by 14%.
You can find lutein and zeaxanthin in green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, broccoli and peas. On the other hand, beta-cryptoxanthin can be obtaines from fruits such as oranges, papaya, peaches, apricots and golden kiwi’s. Exactly how much do you need to eat of these heathy foods to protect your brain from dementia is still to be found out.
As for the other antioxidants, no interactions were found for lycopene, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, vitamins A, C and E.
However, the study also showed that these group of antioxidants does influence the effectiveness of each other, having an opposite effect on each other. For example, vitamine A have a better protective effect at the lower levels of alpha- or beta-carotene, vitamin E works better at the lower levels of lycopene and lycopene protects better cells from the oxidative stress at the lower levels of beta-carotene.
Last but not least, researchers highlight that randomized controlled trials are needed to confirm the findings of their study.
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