Dementia is a collective range of disorders that is characterized by symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person's ability to perform everyday activities. According to a latest study, a reduced sense of smell in seniors could indicate an increased risk of dementia.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, was carried out by the University of Chicago. The long-term study looked at 2,906 adults aged 57 to 85 and asked them to identify various everyday smells. The study examined the participants ability of smelling by using "Sniffin'Sticks,"a small a felt-tip pen like tool which is infused with distinct scents instead of ink. The five scents included in the study, were peppermint, fish, orange, rose and leather.
The findings revealed that about 78 percent of participants had a normal sense of smell, with 29.4 percent able to correctly identify four out of five scents and 48.7 percent able to correctly identified all five. 14 percent could just identify three out of five scents, and five percent could identify only two scents. Two percent of the participants could name just one, and about one percent were not able to identify any at all. After five years of duration(since the test was carried out), it was found that almost all of the participants who had been unable to name a single scent had been diagnosed with dementia. In addition, nearly 80 percent of those who had identified just one or two scents also developed symptoms of dementia, thereby leading the team to conclude that the greater the loss of the smell, the higher the incidence of dementia.
The lead author of the study, Jayant M. Pinto, MD noted that the sense of smell could be closely connected with brain function and health. Loss of the sense of smell could prove to be a strong indicator that something has gone wrong and significant damage has been done. This experiment was a quick and inexpensive way to identify those who are already at high risk.
The researchers also pointed out that a loss of smell can have a significant negative effect on daily lifestyle and well-being. They said that sense of smell could be linked to good nutrition and mental health. People who can't smell may face problems such as knowing whether food is spoiled, detecting smoke during a fire, or assessing the need for a shower after a workout. An impaired olfactory sense may also be closely associated with depression, as they are not able to enjoy life to the fullest.
Often associated with the elderly, some prominent features of dementia include forgetfulness, limited social skills and thinking abilities. If not identified and treated properly it can severely affect everyday life and activities. Here are some brain boosters that you can include in your daily diet to prevent the risk.
1. Vitamin C and B
While Vitamin C has long been associated with mental agility, B Vitamins are known to guard against age-related brain shrinkage and cognitive impairment. Load up on blackcurrants, citrus fruits, fish, green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, peanuts, sesame seeds, eggs to reap maximum benefits.
2. Nuts and Seeds
Loaded with nutrients and essential vitamins, a handful of seeds and nuts may help increase your brainpower significantly. Pumpkin seeds are loaded with zinc that play a great role in sharpening your memory. Walnuts are a good source of omega-3 and other essential nutrients crucial for brain functioning and memory skills.
Eating blueberries daily can help combat against the onset of short term memory loss. Berries in general, including strawberries, when consumed regularly can help delay age-related memory decline.
4. Green Vegetables
From broccoli, kale, to spinach - green vegetables are full of iron, Vitamin E, K and B9 (folate) which are extremely important for brain cell development, keeping memory related issues at bay. Green veggies are also loaded with Vitamin K which is known to be helpful in cognitive enhancement and increasing mental alertness.
Enriched with Vitamin E, avocados are also loaded with antioxidants which help in keeping the brain healthy and alert. These are also linked with lowering risks of Alzheimer's.
Load up on these foods to rev up your brain power and keep dementia and associated mental disorders at bay.