It may be that brain fade problems as we get older may well be helped by avoiding certain foods instead of just looking for the right supplement.

It turns out the key to keeping your brain firing on all cylinders as you get older may have been in your kitchen all along.

Research from the Mayo Clinic finds that eating a lot of carbohydrates and sugar puts you at higher risk for mild cognitive impairment as you age. This means that avoiding these foods, or minimising your intake of these foods can help stop mental decline as you age.

The study involved 940 people between the ages of 70 and 89. All of these folks were clear of cognitive problems at the beginning of the study. Within four years, though, 200 of them were starting to show signs of mild cognitive impairment.

The study participants who ate the most carbs were about twice as likely to have mild cognitive impairment compared to those who were relatively carb-free. The highest sugar intake was associated with being 1.5 times more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment.

But, it’s when fat, protein, sugar, and carbs were considered together, that things got really scary. Then, the people with the highest carb intake were 3.6 times more likely to develop cognitive impairment.

The scientists think that the raised risk that comes from carbs and sugar could be because carbohydrates affect glucose and insulin metabolism. They point out that sugars provide fuel for the brain, so you shouldn’t cut them out completely. But too much sugar can actually keep the brain from using that fuel properly. It’s basically the same effect you see with type 2 diabetes.

Off course when you start cutting those carbs and sugars  you need to replace them with good fats and healthy proteins. People with the highest intake of fat were 42 percent less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment than people who ate the least. And those in the group with the highest intake of protein were 21 percent less likely.