How we live and eat today affects our future health. This claim is gaining relevance as more and more studies are published to support it. And today we are talking about one of these researches, which was published a few weeks ago in the journal Neurology by a group of American scientists from Baltimore and which has shown that those who present, from an early age, high values in the blood of some types of antioxidants will then have, in elderly, a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's (Beydoun et al, Neurology, 2022).
Antioxidants counteract the damage of free radicals
Living long, of course, but living healthy, this is the goal. And certainly brain health is a focus. Antioxidants can counteract free radical damage and inflammation, thus protecting the brain from neurodegeneration. But which antioxidants can be most helpful? American scientists answer this question.
Some antioxidants protect the brain, the study
The researchers drew on data collected from a large study, the National health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, of more than 7,000 people who, at the start of the study, were between 45 and 90 years. The volunteers underwent blood tests to measure the levels of the main antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C and E and carotenoids such as lutein, zeaxanthin and beta cryptoxanthin. Subsequently, the study participants were followed for an average of 16 years to assess the possible onset of neurodegeneration such as Alzheimer's. What emerged was that those who, at the beginning of the study, had higher values of the antioxidants lutein, zeaxanthin and beta cryptoxanthin also had a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerations. Each point higher than the standard in lutein and zeaxanthin levels was associated with a 7% reduction in developing neurodegeneration. While, for beta cryptoxanthin, every point higher than the standard was associated with a 14% reduction in the risk of developing dementia.
The study is very interesting and indicates how some antioxidants, which we can integrate with the diet, are able to protect our brain health for years to come. Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in lettuce, spinach, kale, broccoli and peas, while beta cryptoxanthin is found in some fruits such as oranges, papayas, mandarins and persimmons.