Eating an orange a day could slash the risk of dementia, a major study shows.
Daily intake of citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons or limes can cut the chances of developing the brain condition by almost a quarter, it suggests.
Findings by scientists at Tohoku University in Japan suggest tangy fruits could be a powerful weapon against a modern day epidemic.
Numerous studies have suggested that citrus can protect the brain against the damage that leads to dementia or Alzheimer's. Citric acid contains the chemical nobiletin which in animal tests has slowed memory loss.
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But new research, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, is the first major study to investigate the effect of eating citrus on large numbers of those most at risk.
Scientists tracked more than 13,000 middle-aged or elderly men and women for several years and found those eating citrus daily were 23 per cent less likely to develop dementia than those eating it less than twice a week.
The number of New Zealanders living with dementia is forecast to increase by close to 200 per cent, to 170,000, by 2050, according to a report released in April.
The report, commissioned by Alzheimers New Zealand, called for new models of care and warned treating the disease would top $4.6 billion over the next 30 years.