We all want to make sure our diet is full of nutrients that will keep us healthy as we get older. According to new research, you can help ward off age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia by eating more foods rich in a protein called cytokine.
A study published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia measured the number of cytokines in blood samples from healthy participants (ages 50 to 90) and discovered that high levels of two pro-inflammatory cytokines called interleukin-12 and interferon-gamma were linked to slower cognitive decline.
It sounds odd that inflammation-inducing proteins can benefit your body, but remember inflammation isn’t always a bad thing. The researchers explained that in this case, it strengthened the participants’ immune systems in order to better fight off infections — which is especially important during the early stages of Alzheimer’s. So, getting plenty of cytokines in our diet “may nip infections in the bud, before they can leak into the brain and induce Alzheimer’s pathology,” the study’s co-senior author, Rudolph Tanzi, PhD, said in a statement.
Basically, this protein can help rev up your immunity and protect your brain health in the long run. The best way to do this is by eating cytokine-rich foods such as flaxseeds, berries, and turmeric. Whether you sprinkle a few teaspoons of flaxseeds over yogurt, have a summer berry salad, or drink a soothing turmeric latte, there’s no shortage of ways to enjoy these delicious brain-boosting options!
Also, cutting down on the amounts of high-fructose corn syrup you have on a regular basis from processed foods like candy and soda is another easy diet tweak for better brain health. This prevents any damage to your brain cells that might lessen cognitive function over time. If you want something sweet, try grabbing a piece of fruit, making a smoothie, or using a natural sweetener like stevia, manuka honey, or monk fruit. This way you can still be satisfied without any unhealthy side effects.
All in all, these study findings offer some amazing reasons to eat more of the healthy foods we already love!
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Woman’s World.