Drinking orange juice helps stave off the risk of dementia in old age by almost 50 percent, reveals Harvard Study
A major research that followed 28,000 men's diets and brain health for two decades concluded that those who drank a small glass every day were less likely to have cognitive decline
A recent study has observed that drinking a glass of orange juice every day could significantly lower the risk of suffering from dementia, Daily Mail reports.
After tracking almost 28,000 men over a span of two decades, researchers were able to holistically examine how their consumption of fruits and vegetables affected their cognitive functions. The findings suggested that men were 47 percent less likely to have difficulty remembering, following instructions, or navigating familiar areas if they drank a small glass of orange juice every day.
Early signs of brain deterioration such as lapses in memory, understanding, and episodes of confusion can lead to life-threatening cases of dementia. According to estimates, around 46.8 million people across the globe are living with dementia, with five million patients in the US and 850,000 in the UK.
Scientists have been trying to find a cure for the memory-based disorder for years, although no effective medication has yet been formulated for the same. However, medical experts maintain that a healthy diet is vital in order to stave off the degeneration of the brain as one grows old. Dr. Hannah Gardener, a researcher at the University of Miami, said: "Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and nutrients, including antioxidants, that can help protect the brain."
These apparently help maintain a healthy blood supply to the brain as well as protect it from a build-up of unwanted molecules. The consumption of vegetables, fruits, and orange juice in the long run "may be beneficial" for maintaining cognitive function, lead study author Changzheng Yuan said.
The Harvard University study asked participants, whose average age was 51 at the start, to answer questionnaires about what they ate every four years. Based on the intake of fruit and vegetables, the researchers sorted the men into five groups — from the highest consumption of about six servings of vegetables a day to the lowest of about two servings a day.
In order to asses the impact of their consumption, the researchers conducted tests for thinking and memory skills when the subjects were 73 years old on average. It was found that 7.9 percent of those who ate the least vegetables developed poor cognitive function and performed poorly on the tests, as compared to 6.6 percent of men who ate the most.
According to the research published in the journal Neurology, while fruit consumption didn't appear to influence the risk of moderate cognitive problems, drinking orange juice did. Only 6.9 percent of those who drank orange juice every day went on to develop poor cognitive function as compared to 8.4 percent of those who drank it less than once a month.
"The protective role of regular consumption of fruit juice was mainly observed among the oldest men," Yuan said. "Since fruit juice is usually high in calories from concentrated fruit sugars, it's generally best to consume no more than a small glass (four to six ounces) per day."
Dr. Gardener, however, added: "Fruit and vegetable consumption may be a piece of the puzzle to maintaining cognitive health and should be viewed in conjunction with other behaviors believed to support cognitive health."