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Seven foods that could help ward off dementia

Considering that dementia is reaching worldwide epidemic levels of 47.5m people, evidence-based research into dementia and food is scarce. Red wine, coffee, chocolate and even champagne have all been headlines as ‘miracle anti-dementia foods’ in the last couple of years. Sheila Dillon from the Food Programme has spoken to experts in the field and shares their knowledge.

There are, as Sheila stresses, no magic ingredients, and ultimately a healthy diet, along Mediterranean lines, has the most positive effects (and not just on dementia).

1. Vitamin sea

One or more fish meals a week seems to be significantly beneficial.

2. Don’t chuck the berries

Strawberries and blueberries contain various anti-oxidant elements that have been shown to slow down the onset of cognitive degeneration.

3. Nuts about nuts

30mg of nuts or wholegrains (such as oat, maize, brown rice, rye and millet) are, as well as being a great source of protein, minerals and fibre, believed to help combat dementia.

4. Eat your greens

Popeye was on to something. Spinach, and in fact any leafy greens, can slow cognitive decline.

5. B healthy

A sample group of those with mild cognitive impairment, given B vitamins, showed an encouraging response.

6. Nice cup of cocoa

Our grandparents drinking cocoa before going to bed may have had very sound reasons for doing so – it is believed to have a neuroprotective effect. If you’re a fan of chocolate, try and stick to low sugar, high cocoa content products.

7. Avocado

Avocados, as well as being the ‘clean’ food du jour, are high in fats known to be helpful to brain health.

None of these are extraordinarily difficult to get hold of, and all of them have huge health benefits that exist happily alongside their suspected benefits to cognitive skills. And any excuse to eat a little more chocolate is fine by us...

Listen to the Food Programme's investigation in to Diet and Dementia.

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