I don’t know who started this whole Christmas in July thing. But what I can tell you is I’m already a little sick of it.
However, despite my being allergic to listening to Christmas songs, in the summertime, there is one part of the holiday we should keep around all year long.
And that’s a pair of colors so closely linked to Christmas that you almost can’t celebrate the holiday without them.
I’m talking about green and gold. But in this case, I’m not so concerned about them being used in your décor. Instead, I want to see them in your FOOD.
Because it turns out green and gold are signs of some vital nutrients.
And the latest research shows how these holiday colors can be the perfect gift regardless of the season. Because in the correct form, they can help protect your brain, preserve your cognition, and potentially help ward off Alzheimer’s disease.
The colors that can protect against Alzheimer’s
Certain colors in fruits and veggies are a sign that special pigments called carotenoids are hiding inside.
When you eat them, those potent nutrients are released into your body, where they act as antioxidants protecting your cells against damaging free radicals.
According to a new study, the more you munch on carotenoids, the lower your odds of developing Alzheimer’s disease becomes.
But that’s “in general” stuff. Sure, it’s useful. But I prefer to see some specifics.
And that specificity is precisely what this new study “gifts” us with. Because the researchers managed to pinpoint the specific carotenoids that deliver the most dementia-fighting benefits.
- Lutein and zeaxanthin: found in leafy greens like broccoli, kale, peas, and spinach
- Beta-cryptoxanthin: found in golden-orange fruits like oranges, tangerines, persimmons, and papayas.
Each jump in the standard deviation of lutein and zeaxanthin cut the odds of dementia by about 7 percent. Meanwhile, each standard deviation bump in beta-cryptoxanthin cut Alzheimer’s risk by 14 percent.
In other words, these humble “Christmas-colored” nutrients may be the easiest way yet to significantly cut your chances of developing this devastating disease.
Dial down your cognitive decline risks
This study is so important because the researchers didn’t simply ask volunteers what they ate and then guesstimate their levels of these powerful nutrients.
Instead, they used blood tests to measure the exact numbers. In fact, I can even share them with you.
- For lutein and zeaxanthin, each standard deviation was 4 mmol/L.
- And for beta-cryptoxanthin, it was about 8.6 mmol/L.
But there’s a second reason this study is so valuable. Often, scientists involved in research like this won’t even bother to mention supplements. And they’ll insist the only way to get the nutrients you need is through food.
But that’s NOT the case here. In fact, the study concluded, “Such antioxidants, consumed via diet or supplements, may protect against neurodegenerative processes including cognitive decline.”
The researchers added that we need a clinical trial before we can say for sure that these nutrients in any form can get the job done. And I totally agree. After all, that’s just common sense AND good science.
But that doesn’t make these findings any less exciting. And the early word on these Alzheimer’s-battling nutrients is still just as promising.
Plus, other research has also found that these same nutrients can help with everything from vision support to cancer prevention. And don’t forget, leafy greens and fresh fruits are also packed with other disease-beating nutrients.
Want to eat more greens but you’re tired of kale? Well, it’s not the only leafy green on the block. Check out these 5 delicious nutritious leafy greens that AREN’T kale for some inspiration.
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