A story published online last week by BBC news referred to a study claiming that eating too much tofu can lead to memory loss. The Vegetarian & Vegan Foundation (VVF) can reassure consumers of tofu that, based on all available evidence, the products made in the UK are perfectly safe to eat.

The research focused on tofu consumption in Indonesia where, because of less stringent regulations on additives, the tofu sold there contains additives not permitted in the UK. It seems likely that these additives cause the problem, not tofu itself.

The VVF has recently published a free information sheet Simple Tips to Sharpen Wits showing why an animal-free diet, including tofu, is the best way to boost brain power and avoid memory loss.

A typical veggie diet is laden with folate which can help boost brain power in the over-50s. The government recommends 200 micrograms a day but vegetarians - and especially vegans - generally have higher levels than this because of the folate-rich fruits, cereals, pulses and leafy green vegetables they eat.

Obesity in your 40s can increase the risk of dementia. Replacing meat with plant-based alternatives may help counter this as well as aiding weight control.

The higher a person's body mass index (BMI), the greater their risk of dementia.

On average, the BMI of vegetarians is lower by two which means they tend to weigh less and have less body fat than meat eaters.

Alzheimer's has strong links with meat eating and its symptoms are similar to Creutzfeltd Jakob disease (vCJD), the human form of mad cow disease.

Dr Murray Waldman, Toronto's coroner, believes that Alzheimer's may have a similar cause - a rogue protein in meat called a prion.

Professor Stanley Prusiner, who won a Nobel Prize for his discovery of prions, supports Dr Waldman's theory.

For more information, visit www.vegetarian.org.uk or call 0117 970 5190.

Amanda Woodvine Senior Nutritionist Vegetarian & Vegan Foundation Bristol