Drink­ing or­ange juice could slash your risk of de­men­tia by 50 per cent

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - INTERNATIONAL - By Vanessa Chalmers © Daily Mail, Lon­don

Drink­ing a glass of or­ange juice ev­ery day could sig­nif­i­cantly lower your risk of get­ting de­men­tia, a study sug­gests.

Re­searchers tracked al­most 28,000 men for two decades to ex­am­ine how their fruit and veg­etable con­sump­tion af­fected their brain power.

They found men who drank a small glass of or­ange juice were 47 per cent less likely to have dif­fi­culty re­mem­ber­ing, fol­low­ing in­struc­tions or nav­i­gat­ing fa­mil­iar ar­eas.

Lapses in mem­ory, un­der­stand­ing and episodes of con­fu­sion can be early signs of brain de­cline which can ul­ti­mately lead to life-threat­en­ing de­men­tia.

This new ev­i­dence re­it­er­ates the im­por­tance of a healthy diet in staving off the de­gen­er­a­tion of the brain which comes with old age.

' Fruits and veg­eta­bles are rich in vi­ta­mins and nu­tri­ents, in­clud­ing an­tiox­i­dants, that can help pro­tect the brain,' said Dr Han­nah Gar­dener, a re­searcher at the Univer­sity of Mi­ami, who wasn't in­volved with the re­search.

Par­tic­i­pants in the Har­vard Univer­sity study an­swered ques­tion­naires about what they ate ev­ery four years.

The re­searchers sorted the men - aged 51 on av­er­age at the start of the study - into five groups based on their in­take of fruit and veg.

The group with the high­est con­sump­tion ate about six serv­ings of veg­eta­bles a day, com­pared to two serv­ings for the group with the low­est con­sump­tion.

A serv­ing of veg­eta­bles is con­sid­ered one cup of raw veg­eta­bles or two cups of leafy greens.

For fruits, the top group ate about three serv­ings per day, com­pared to half a serv­ing in the bot­tom group.

A serv­ing of fruit is con­sid­ered one cup of fruit or a halfcup of fruit juice.

To mea­sure how this af­fected brain health, the re­searchers took tests of think­ing and mem­ory skills when the men were 73 years old, on av­er­age.

The tests asked things such as whether the men could re­mem­ber re­cent events or items on shop­ping lists.

Over­all, 6.6 per­cent of men who ate the most veg de­vel­oped poor cog­ni­tive func­tion and per­formed badly on the tests, com­pared with 7.9 per­cent of men who ate the least.

Fruit con­sump­tion, over­all, didn't ap­pear to in­flu­ence the risk of mod­er­ate cog­ni­tive prob­lems.

But drink­ing or­ange juice did, ac­cord­ing to the re­search, pub­lshed in the jour nal Neu­rol­ogy.

Just 6.9 of peo­ple who drank or­ange juice ev­ery day went on to de­velop poor cog­ni­tive func­tion.

In com­par­i­son, the fig­ure was 8.4 per cent of men who drank or­ange juice less than once a month.

'The pro­tec­tive role of reg­u­lar con­sump­tion of fruit juice was mainly ob­served among the old­est men,' Ms Yuan said.

' Since fruit juice is usu­ally high in calo­ries from con­cen­trated fruit sug­ars, it's gen­er­ally best to con­sume no more than a small glass ( four to six ounces) per day.'

The study didn't in­tend to find the link be­tween a healthy diet and mem­ory, how­ever.

There­fore it lacked data on par­tic­i­pants mem­ory skills at the begin­ning of the study, which would have shown how their diet might have in­flu­enced this over time.

They found men who drank a small glass of or­ange juice were 47 per cent less likely to have dif­fi­culty re­mem­ber­ing, fol­low­ing in­struc­tions or nav­i­gat­ing fa­mil­iar ar­eas.

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