Researchers have revealed that eating iron-rich foods such as steak, spinach, nuts and liver can help ward off dementia. The University of California San Francisco made an important connection between anaemia and dementia in a recent study.
People with anaemia, which is where the level of red blood cells are lower than normal, were more likely to develop brain degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's.
"The condition has also been linked in studies to an increased risk of early death," said lead researcher Kristine Yaffe. "Anaemia is common in the elderly and occurs in up to 23 per cent of adults aged 65 and older."
The study looked at more than 2,500 people aged between 70 and 79. Dr Yaffe thinks the rationale behind the findings, reported the Daily Mail, is that anaemia may play a role in dementia by reducing oxygen supplies to the brain, which can damage neurons and have been shown to reduce memory and thinking abilities.
It was previously thought that high iron levels in the blood were bad for people with Alzheimer's, as Mercola.com reported: "It can lead to the production of free radicals that can damage neurons in your brain."
BRILLIANT FOODS FOR YOUR BRAIN:
Walnuts (and almonds, pecans, hazelnuts) - filled with Omega-3 fatty acids
Salmon (and mackerel, sardines, other fatty fish) - fatty fish like salmon can lower blood levels of beta-amyloid, a protein thought to play a role in Alzheimer’s
Berries - these contain polyphenols, a type of antioxidant which helps stop inflammation and allows brain cells to work better.
Turmeric - studies have shown that turmeric, the spice used in curries, and its main active component curcumin, can help prevent Alzheimer's
However, as with all things, it is about moderation. Talking to the Daily Mail, Dr Doug Brown of the Alzheimer’s Society said: "The best way to reduce your risk of dementia is to lead a healthy lifestyle.
"Enjoy a balanced Mediterranean diet rich in fruit and vegetables, oily fish and even the occasional glass of red wine, take regular exercise and don’t smoke."
The study was published in the journal Neurology.