It is thought that oxidative stress contributes to ageing of the brain. In fact, according to certain hypotheses, it is also likely implicated in the process leading to degenerative diseases. Antioxidants, particularly when taken over many years, seem able to protect the body from the decline of cognitive functions linked to oxidative stress.
But what is oxidative stress you ask? It is damage caused by higher amounts of free radicals or a lower level of antioxidants at the molecular and cellular levels, and throughout the entire organism.
A study with nearly 6,000 participating physicians has been ongoing since 1982. Researchers measured the effect beta-carotene supplements (50 mg every other day) had on the cognitive function of men over the age of 65. Among the findings, researchers noted that subjects who had been taking beta-carotene for close to one year had similar results in a cognitive function test than subjects who had not taken the supplement. However, the global cognition and verbal memory of patients who had taken beta-carotene for nearly 18 years were significantly better than those of patients who had received a placebo for the same length of time. Thus, long-term use of beta-carotene appears to slow the decline of mental capacities.
Beta-carotene is naturally present in many vegetables, particularly in carrots, broccoli, spinach, apricots and mangos. This antioxidant mutates into vitamin A when it enters the body. Beta-carotene contributes in many of the body’s essential functions such as vision, the immune system, and reproductive capacity. It may also lower our risks of suffering from numerous cancers like cancer of the prostate, lung, throat, larynx, breast and stomach cancer.
Vitamins likely have a sustained beneficial action on our entire system, particularly mental faculties, even if the effects can only be experienced in the very long term. To take advantage of all known and unknown benefits and the great nutrients in fruits and vegetables, integrate them to your diet in large quantities. You will undoubtedly be grateful for doing so in the future!