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Eat to Lower Your Risk of Dementia

You can help keep your brain healthy with these 6 foods — plus a dose of sunshine


Eating citrus fruits may lower your risk of dementia. — John Wang/Getty Images

2. Don’t forget citrus

Oranges and orange juice are a convenient and inexpensive source of ascorbic acid (aka vitamin C), as are tangerines, limes, lemons and other citrus fruits. Surprisingly, sweet peppers, strawberries, cantaloupes, tomatoes, broccoli, leafy greens, lettuce and cabbage also can raise your C level. People who are taking prescription medications should avoid grapefruit juice, nutritionists and other health experts caution, because it may unpredictably alter the effects of many drugs.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant, essential for healthy skin and blood vessel functioning — but its benefits may run deeper. Last summer, Swedish scientists at Lund University reported that in laboratory mice, vitamin C actually dissolves toxic plaques of the kind that accumulate in the brains of human Alzheimer’s patients. That followed on a 2004 Johns Hopkins University study showing that men and women who took multivitamins containing vitamins C and E were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s. A 2009 Harvard Medical School study also found a possible protective effect for the brain from long-term vitamin C use in a study of 2,824 women.

Next page: Food No. 3: Add in some almonds. »

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BRAIN HEALTH: Working with brain experts from the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, AARP has developed a wide range of resources to keep your brain sharp.

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