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How to Use Food to Calm Down and Dodge Dementia

How to Use Food to Calm Down and Dodge Dementia

Cherimoya, samphire, jabuticaba, kiwano, pummelo and Romanesco. No, that is not the name of an international law firm, or the six magic words that will open the hidden door in King Tut’s tomb. Those are very memorable fruits and vegetables (four are fruits, two are veggies; can you guess which is which?) that help reduce stress, bolster your memory and protect your brain from dementia.

A study in the journal Age and Aging found that adults who regularly eat three servings of veggies and two of fruit, slash their risk for dementia substantially—and upping it to six servings of veggies was super-protective. Another study in Frontiers of Aging Neuroscience found that for every three ounces of vegetables eaten daily there’s a 13 percent reduction in cognitive impairment and folks with the highest consumption of fruits and vegetables slashed their risk for dementia by 20 percent. Now that’s thinking smart!

On top of that, a study in British Medical Journal Open measured the fruit and vegetable consumption of more than 60,000 people age 45 and older and found people who ate five to seven servings of vegetables daily had a 14 percent lower risk of psychological distress (sadness) than those who ate zero to four servings daily.

So, if you want to get happy—and be able to remember those happy times—the smart move is to eat five to nine servings of fruits and veggies daily. (By the way, Cherimoya, jabuticaba, kiwano, and pummelo are fruits; samphire and Romanesco are veggies.)

Medically reviewed in September 2018.

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