Senior citizens worried about memory problems? Try chocolate, cocoa, tea, grapes, red wine, and/or apples.

Eating cocoa flavanols daily may improve mild cognitive impairment, according to new research in the American Heart Association's journal Hypertension.

Consuming Flavanol-Rich Cocoa May Enhance Brain Function

Flavanols can be found in tea, grapes, red wine, apples and cocoa products and have been associated with a decreased risk of dementia. They may act on the brain structure and function directly by protecting neurons from injury, improving metabolism and their interaction with the molecular structure responsible for memory researchers said. Indirectly, flavanols may help by improving brain blood flow.

Tags: cocoa, dementia

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Vitamin C and Beta-Carotene Might Protect Against Dementia

On the subject of diet and dementia, a study found that people with mild dementia (Alzheimers) had the lowest blood levels of vitamin C and beta-carotene. Only these anitoxidants were depleted in those with mild dementia.

The concentration of vitamin C and beta-carotene in the serum of AD-patients was significantly lower than in the blood of control subjects. Whereas no such difference between the groups could be found for the other antioxidants (vitamin E, lycopene, coenzyme Q10).

Oxidative stress, which constrains the exploitation of oxygen in the human body, is suspected to promote the development of AD.

Though the study hasn't been replicated, I'm going to make an effort to include these nutrients in my diet. I use the ascorbyl palmitate form of vitamin C, which is soluble in both water and lipids, so it can cross membranes.

Beta-carotene supplements should be avoided, in favor of foods rich in the nutrient.

...high-dose beta carotene supplements (of 30 milligrams or more a day) have been linked to an increased risk of lung cancer.

[from Benefits of Beta Carotene]

As if I needed an excuse to eat chocolate.

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