3 Antioxidants Linked to Lower Dementia Risk

Advertising Disclosure: When you buy something by clicking links on our site, we may earn a small commission, but it never affects the products or services we recommend.

Woman shopping for produce
FXQuadro / Shutterstock.com

Can eating the right foods help lower your risk of dementia? A recent study suggests that tantalizing possibility.

Among the more than 7,200 adults — age 45 and older — who participated in the study, those with higher levels of three key antioxidants in their bloodstream when the study began were less likely to have developed dementia when they were tested an average of 16 years later.

The study results were published in Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology. They suggest that eating some specific foods might help your body obtain the antioxidants that could keep dementia at bay.

In a press release, study author May A. Beydoun of the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging in Baltimore says:

“Antioxidants may help protect the brain from oxidative stress, which can cause cell damage.”

Following are the antioxidants cited in the study and the foods that will help your body obtain them.


Woman eating salad
ALPA PROD / Shutterstock.com

In addition to lutein’s role in possibly keeping dementia at bay, this carotenoid has been linked to other health benefits, especially for the eyes. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties.

You can get lutein in green, leafy vegetables and other foods. Consider adding any of the following to your diet:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Fresh parsley
  • Celery
  • Broccoli
  • Lettuce
  • Green peas
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Summer squash


Man eating a mango
greenaperture / Shutterstock.com

This carotenoid is another antioxidant that has been linked to better eye health, such as lowering your risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. And, like lutein, it also may help lower your risk of heart-related issues, such as coronary heart disease and stroke.

Good sources of zeaxanthin include:

  • Yellow corn
  • Orange pepper
  • Orange juice
  • Honeydew melon
  • Mango


Woman eating a tangerine
CandyBox Images / Shutterstock.com

This carotenoid is commonly found in fruit, as well as in human blood and tissues. It has functions vital to human health, including aiding in cell-to-cell communication and serving as a precursor of vitamin A.

According to the study authors, beta-cryptoxanthin is found in:

  • Oranges
  • Papaya
  • Tangerines
  • Persimmon

Study limitations

Woman with orange juice
Yuri Shevtsov / Shutterstock.com

Although the study findings are encouraging, they do not definitively show that eating these foods and obtaining these antioxidants will reduce your risk of dementia.

For example, the study authors caution that antioxidant levels were based on a single blood sample. Thus, it is possible the test might not have reflected the level of antioxidants in a study subject’s blood over a lifetime.

As Beydoun says:

“Further studies are needed to test whether adding these antioxidants can help protect the brain from dementia.”

Get smarter with your money!

Want the best money-news and tips to help you make more and spend less? Then sign up for the free Money Talks Newsletter to receive daily updates of personal finance news and advice, delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for our free newsletter today.