Multiple studies have suggested that choline, an essential nutrient found in eggs and meat, can be instrumental in keeping cognitive decline at bay. But evidence to support this connection has eluded researchers for quite some time.
In a recent paper published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers from the University of Eastern Finland established that taking phosphatidylcholine (PC), the chemical precursor to choline, leads to a reduced risk of dementia in middle-aged and older men – the first of its kind to underscore this connection.
Higher choline intake tied to reduced risk of dementia
To understand the association between choline intake and dementia risk, the team studied the data of 2,497 Finnish men aged 42–60 who showed no signs of dementia.
The population sample had been examined from 1984–1989 as part of the ongoing Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. It had been designed to examine risk factors for cardiovascular disease in a random sample of men from the town of Kuopio in eastern Finland.
The data studied included information regarding the participants’ diet, nutrition and lifestyle habits. The team also retrieved the participants’ hospital records from Finnish health registers after a follow-up period of almost 22 years to check for possible diagnoses of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Upon examination of these combined data, the researchers found that participants with the highest intake of PC from foods like eggs and meat had a 28 percent lower risk of dementia compared to those with the lowest intake.
In 1988, a subset of 482 participants also completed five different tests designed to measure their cognitive performance. The team found that participants in this subset who had the highest intake of PC performed better in the tests. Three hundred thirty-seven participants, on the other hand, had been diagnosed with dementia as per their hospital records.
Based on their findings, the researchers thus concluded that a high intake of PC is linked to a reduced risk of dementia and better cognitive performance. Therefore, increasing choline intake can help decrease the risk of dementia.
Other nutrients and compounds that help prevent dementia
Around 50 million people worldwide are currently suffering from a neurological disorder that has led to dementia, according to recent reports from the World Health Organization (WHO).
There is no accepted mainstream cure for dementia or the neurological disorders it is often associated with. For this reason, it’s crucial to curb its onset as soon as possible.
As current studies suggest, proper diet and nutrition can help protect the brain from mental impairment. Here are some of the best nutrients and compounds for brain health besides choline.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids in fish like salmon, herring and sardines help protect the brain from inflammation and cellular damage. Omega-3s also enhance brain function and contribute to brain development. Plant-based sources of omega-3s include chia seeds, walnuts, Brussels sprouts and flaxseed oil. (Related: Omega-3 supplementation can improve psychophysiological symptoms of PTSD.)
Fruits and vegetables contain plant compounds called flavonoids. These organic compounds are known to exhibit strong antioxidant activities against inflammation that can damage brain cells and harm overall brain health. Flavonoids also protect the brain from plaque buildup, which is linked to Alzheimer’s disease. To maximize the protective effects of flavonoids, eat more berries, salad greens and colorful foods like squash and grapes.
Vitamin E is hailed for its beneficial effects on skin health. But this powerful antioxidant can also stall the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. It can even minimize the risk of stroke and other neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease. Foods rich in vitamin E include most nuts, seeds and plant-based oils.
Proper diet and nutrition can protect the brain from mental impairment. Eat foods rich in choline and other brain-boosting nutrients as part of a balanced diet to minimize the risk of dementia as much as possible.
Read more articles about choline and other beneficial plant compounds at PlantMedicine.news.