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Walnuts, social activity and cognitive exercise help stave off dementia


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(NaturalNews) Those looking to find ways to stave off dementia as they enter old age have just received a double-dose of good news.

Two recent studies have indicated a couple of methods which offer significant protection for the human brain against the onset of Alzheimer's disease.

One of the studies finds that it is possible to keep the brain healthy through exercising it; the other reveals that diet is also an important factor in preventing decline in brain function.

Experts at the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain conducted research on brain function with an emphasis on determining what factors might prevent or slow down the tendency toward dementia in older people.

The researchers found that possessing and using a large vocabulary appears to play an important role in minimizing the effects of aging on the human brain.

A recent article in The Express summarizes the findings[1]:

"Cognitive reserve" is the name given to the brain's capacity to compensate for the loss of its functions.

This reserve cannot be measured directly; rather, it is calculated through indicators which are believed to increase this capacity.

Cristina Lojo Seoane, co-author of the study published in the journal Annals of Psychology, said: "We focused on level of vocabulary as it is considered an indicator of crystallised intelligence - the use of previously acquired intellectual skills.

"We aimed to deepen our understanding of its relation to cognitive reserve."

The study took into account the level of education, vocabulary scores, complexity of their jobs and reading habits of the subjects who participated in the study.

The researchers compared 222 healthy people over the age of 50 with 104 others who had mild cognitive impairment and found that, among those in the latter group, many had lower vocabulary scores.

This led the researchers to the conclusion that "a higher level of vocabulary, as a measure of cognitive reserve, can protect against cognitive impairment."

The second study examined the effects of diet on aging brains and found that eating walnuts on a daily basis has a measurable impact towards the prevention of the onset of dementia.

The study was conducted by researchers at the New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities:

The new research, published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, found that potent ingredients in the popular nuts can have a beneficial effects in reducing the risk, delaying the onset, slowing the progression of, or preventing Alzheimer's.

Led by Dr Abha Chauhan, the study found significant improvement in learning skills, memory, reducing anxiety, and motor development in mice fed a walnut-enriched diet.

The researchers believe that it is the high antioxidant content of walnuts which may protect the brain from the degeneration typically seen in Alzheimer's.

Oxidative stress is the damage that occurs within the body during the aging process and which is caused by the actions of naturally- occurring chemicals called "free radicals." Oxidative stress has been identified as one of the major factors involved in the aging of the brain and other parts of the human body.

The antioxidant properties of walnuts appear to help in minimizing the effects of oxidative stress on the brain.

Walnuts can also help in keeping the heart healthy and are a great source of vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acid, all of which have health benefits.

Although no single method or dietary supplement appears to be a cure for dementia, it's well worth adding walnuts to your daily diet along with an effort to boost your vocabulary and exercise your brain.


[1] http://www.express.co.uk

[2] http://science.naturalnews.com

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