What is dementia?
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Dementia is an umbrella term for a cluster of destructive conditions linked to an ongoing brain decline. Contrary to popular opinion, it isn’t a direct result of ageing. This means that there are ways to reduce your risk of the mind-robbing condition. What’s more, eating meat could unlock a way to antioxidants that could help protect your brain.
From a hearty steak to roasted chicken, it’s no secret that Britons enjoy tucking into meat.
While processed products and fatty cuts might only complement your taste buds, lean meats could offer more than a tasty grub, according to research.
A study, published in the journal Antioxidants, identified new antioxidants in beef, pork and chicken known as Imidazole dipeptides (IDPs).
The good news is that these goodies have been previously linked to a lower risk of dementia, according to Dr Andre Brittain-Disson.
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Dr Brittain-Disson said: “Imidazole dipeptides, such as carnosine and anserine, have been shown to have neuroprotective properties that may help prevent dementia.
“They have been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that can help protect the brain from damage caused by oxidative stress and inflammation.”
In fact, these antioxidants can protect your brain in multiple ways, the doctor explained.
Whether they help inhibit the build-up of abnormal proteins, such as beta-amyloid and tau, which are both linked to the mind-robbing condition, or improve oxygen and nutrient delivery to your brain, they have a few tricks up their sleeve.
Don’t just take the doctor’s word for it, as research, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, also highlight’s the beneficial link between these antioxidants and the brain condition.
The research team found that individuals with higher blood levels of carnosine and anserine had a lower risk of developing the mind-robbing condition over a 10-year follow-up period.
Another study, published in the journal Nutrients, suggested that supplementing with carnosine for six months improved cognitive function in older adults with mild cognitive impairment.
“While these findings are promising, it’s important to note that imidazole dipeptides are just one of many factors that can contribute to brain health and the prevention of dementia,” Dr Brittain-Disson said.
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So, before you fill your fridge with various meat products, there are a few things to remember.
The doctor said: “While meat is a good source of imidazole dipeptides, it is also high in saturated fat, which has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and may also be associated with an increased risk of dementia.”
Furthermore, large amounts of red and processed meat could cause more harm than good. Research has linked both of these popular options to a higher risk of bowel cancer.
The doctor said: “Red meat, such as beef, lamb, and pork, contains a high level of iron, which can damage cells and tissues in the body.
“Additionally, processed meats, such as bacon, sausage, and deli meats, are often high in sodium and preservatives, which have also been linked to an increased risk of cancer.
“Therefore, it is recommended to consume meat in moderation and to choose lean cuts of meat and poultry, as well as fish, which are good sources of protein and other important nutrients while also being lower in saturated fat.
“A balanced diet that includes a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats, is important for maintaining overall health and reducing the risk of chronic diseases, including dementia.”
Furthermore, picking up exercise, cutting back on drinking and quitting smoking could all help reduce your risk as well.
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