It's the news Popeye's been waiting for: Spinach could help fight off dementia (and carrots and apricots too)
Researchers have discovered a link between low vitamin C, beta-carotene levels and dementiaAntioxidant rich fruit and vegetables – such as spinach, carrots and apricots – could help fight dementia
15:22 GMT, 12 September 2012
It's welcome news for Popeye.
Spinach could help beat help beat dementia, according to a study.
Researchers have discovered a link between low vitamin C, beta-carotene levels and dementia.
So antioxidant rich fruit and vegetables – such as spinach, carrots and apricots – could help fight the disease’s devastating symptoms, their findings suggest.
Music to Popeye's ears: Antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables – including spinach – could help fight the dementia symptoms
German scientists from the University of Ulm looked at the differences between 74 people with mild Alzheimer’s disease and 158 healthy subjects.
The participants, aged between 65 and 90, underwent neuropsychological testing, answered questions about their lifestyle and had their blood examined and their body mass index calculated.
The team, led by epidemiologist Professor Gabriele Nagel and neurologist Professor Christine von Arnim, found the serum-concentration of the antioxidants vitamin C and beta-carotene were significantly lower in patients with mild dementia than in control group.
There was no such difference between the groups in levels of other antioxidants including vitamin E, lycopene, coenzyme Q10.
Dr Nagel said although more studies were needed to confirm the results, the findings suggested fruits and vegetables could play a role in fighting the disease.
'Longitudinal studies with more participants are necessary to confirm the result that vitamin C and beta-carotene might prevent the onset and development of Alzheimer’s disease,' he said.
'Vitamin C can for example be found in citrus fruits; beta-carotene in carrots, spinach or apricots.'
Beneficial: Apricots and carrots could also prove beneficial in the fight against dementia
Alzheimer’s disease symptoms including forgetfulness, lack of orientation and cognitive decline and are caused by alterations in the brain including amyloid-beta-plaques, degeneration of fibrillae and a loss of synapses.
However, oxidative stress, which constrains the exploitation of oxygen in the human body, is also suspected to promote the development of the disease.
This led scientists to investigate whether antioxidants might protect against neurodegeneration.
The study – supported by the German Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts of Baden-W|rttemberg and the European Union – was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.