Healthy Living | Nutrition

Alzheimer’s Diet: 7 Simple Diet Tweaks That Can Significantly Reduce Dementia Risk

Want to preserve your brain health for the long run? Then you definitely want to know more about the The Alzheimer’s Prevention Diet. Here's a list of the best foods to eat and those that should be avoided to keep your mind sharp.

Right now, we may not have a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, or a magic pill that prevents it. But research has proven that harnessing the power of an integrative medical approach through diet really can slow down its progression and, in some cases, even prevent Alzheimer’s. Enter Alzheimer’s diet.

Following the Mediterranean diet or the MIND  has been recognized to reduce the risk of developing dementia by between 30 and 35 percent. Even casually following either of these diets led to an 18 percent lower risk of developing dementia.

By using the 7 simple diet tweaks below, you can better protect and care for yourself and your loved ones who are struggling with this disease.

7 Simple Diet Tweaks That Can Help Significantly Cut Down Your Alzheimer’s Risk

The Alzheimer’s Prevention Diet We Should All Follow

Coffee, Served Black

A scientific review from 2015 perused 20 years’ worth of studies and found that coffee may have valuable neuroprotective properties when consumed regularly. There is evidence that coffee, tea, and caffeine consumption protects against late-life cognitive decline and impairment. There is as of yet no recommended daily amount of consumption for coffee in the context of Alzheimer’s disease prevention, but in accordance with the other dietary guidelines, one thing that surely has benefits is nixing the cream and sugar in your next cup of joe.

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Olive oil is a versatile ingredient that can be used in cooking or as a condiment/dressing for a variety of dishes — even desserts. Extra-virgin olive oil is especially rich in heart-healthy fats, phytonutrients, and other micronutrients. One 2015 study found olive oil consumption improved cognition and memory. Try substituting olive oil when you’re cooking in the kitchen, or a nice bottle of extra-virgin olive oil instead of butter for your (whole-grain) dinner rolls; with a flavorful olive oil, you won’t find yourself missing butter at the table.

Oregano, Basil, Garlic, Rosemary, Mint, Sage….Herbs are Good

Integrating herbs into your diet introduces potent antioxidants into the mix. Because they’re so flavorful, they can reduce your need to add salt and excess fat to your meals in order to make them more palatable. Oregano, basil, garlic, rosemary, mint, sage, thyme… the herbs you can use are limitless and completely adaptable to your taste and recipe.

Eat Meat Sparingly; Stick to Fish Once a Week

In the Mediterranean tradition, meat is consumed sparingly and is usually used to add flavor to sauces, rather than being the star of a meal — one serving per week at most. Instead, seafood and shellfish make up the bulk of the Mediterranean diet’s animal-based proteins.

One study found that consuming a three-and-a-half-ounce portion of fish each week was associated with an 11 percent lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease, so make sure you get at least one serving of fish each week. For the MIND diet, red meat is not on the menu, but it does include two serving of lean poultry weekly.

A Handful of Nuts a Day Keeps The Mind Fog Away 

Nuts are a quick, filling, and very heart-healthy snack. Walnuts, especially, are great brain food. A 2014 study highlighted its fat profile, phytochemical offerings, as well as specific polyphenols that reduce oxidation and inflammation of brain cells. Don’t limit yourself to just walnuts though; almonds, pecans, and hazelnuts are also great options (unsalted!).

Avoid the Sugar Rush

In contrast,  a 2014 study focusing on what not to eat to avoid Alzheimer’s found that diets high in refined sugars, processed foods, and fried foods — all tied to inflammation in the body — actually raise a person’s risk of cognitive decline.

With November quickly approaching and marking Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, it’s a great time to learn how to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, naturally, through the foods you eat. Here are the components of an effective, Alzheimer’s prevention diet.

Red Red Wine, it Makes Your Brain Feel Fine

Both theories support moderate consumption of red wine as part of an Alzheimer’s prevention diet, though the science behind why wine is beneficial for the brain is unclear. Moderate really means moderate though — just one glass of red wine a day is plenty, and is best shared in good company.

If remembering each of the 7 diet tweaks seems overwhelming, just remember these three, simple ideas written by Author Michael Pollen, In Defense of Food:

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

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