Dr Zoe says walking can reduce risk of dementia

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Dementia describes a cluster of symptoms associated with an ongoing brain decline. While certain risk factors like your age are non-negotiable, your dietary choices could be easily switched up. New research suggests that compounds found in green tea could protect your brain from Alzheimer’s disease.

Characterised by its pleasant earthy taste, green tea offers more than a nice flavour.

A new study, published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine, makes a compelling case for adding green tea to your drink menu.

The herbal drink is rich in flavonoids called catechins – plant-based chemicals that help protect plants from environmental toxins.

However, these plant chemicals also extend their protective powers to humans as the study found they were able to reduce plaques strongly linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

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Catechins offer anti-inflammatory properties, which may be the reason behind their plaque-clearing abilities.

Alzheimer’s disease is characterised by a lack of communication between neurons in the brain, which leads to loss of function and cell death.

In a brain like this, abnormal levels of certain naturally occurring proteins clump together to form plaques and disrupt cell function.

This is where the goodies in green tea step in with their ability to reduce the formation of plaques.

What’s more, the researchers noticed that the plant chemicals are able to do this with few or no side effects.

If you’re not a fan of green tea, you could still reap these benefits from other foods and drinks.

The researchers found that other compounds, including resveratrol, curcumin, the diabetic medication Metformin and citicoline also prevented plaques from forming.

Resveratrol is found in the likes of blueberries and grapes, while curcumin is hidden in the yellow spice known as turmeric.

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And citicoline is contained within organ meats, eggs, chicken, fish and peanuts.

The research team tested 21 compounds in a 3D neural tissue model made of a nonreactive silk sponge seeded with human skin cells that were converted into self-renewing neural stem cells.

Dr Dana Cairns, leader of the study, said: “We got lucky that some of these showed some pretty strong efficacy.

“In the case of these compounds that passed the screening, they had virtually no plaques visible after about a week.”

Other ways to reduce dementia risk

A healthy diet is the cornerstone of a healthy life and body and even dementia can’t resist the powerful effects of good food choices.

You should focus on keeping saturated fat, salt, and sugar in check, while boosting your intake of fibre, according to the NHS.

Certain foods like oily fish, strawberries and leafy green vegetables are especially potent at reducing your risk of the mind-robbing condition, according to research.

Other lifestyle changes that can also benefit your brain include exercise, cutting back on alcohol and quitting smoking, the health service adds.

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