Forgetfulness may be something to be expected as we grow older, even accepted as part of the natural ageing process, with more serious cases manifesting as dementia and Alzheimer's disease. However, is mental decline really an unavoidable part of growing old?
Researchers from the University of Ulm in Germany published a study concluding that there are steps we can take not only to keep our minds sharp, but also to reduce the risk of more serious decline in our later years.
The study featured 74 Alzheimer's patients and a healthy control group of 158, drawn from a population-based sample of approximately 1,500 65-to-90 year olds. It identified key "power vitamins" that were shown to actively protect key aspects of mental health, including vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin E, lycopene and coenzyme Q10.
These vitamins proved to be invaluable for the preservation of mental clarity, with studies highlighting the fact that Alzheimer's patients are typically deficient in these specific vitamins.
The study goes further, suggesting that high doses of vitamin C and beta-carotene taken when young resulted in a significant reduction in the chances of becoming forgetful, or even suffering dementia as you age.
Vitamin E, lycopene and coenzyme Q10 could even protect against symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer's.
The researchers stated that even taking into account other factors that affect cognitive ability, such as education, lifestyle, smoking and weight, deficiency of these particular vitamins was still a major cause.
Translating this research into foods: pumpkin, butternut squash, sweet potato, kale, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, almonds, blueberries, broccoli, tomatoes, asparagus, avocado and oily fish are your top brain foods.
Laura Holland is a well-being consultant and nutritional therapist. For more information, visit www.BeUtifulYou.co.uk