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Are You Eating These Foods That Could Stave Off Alzheimer’s?

Want to lower your risk of Alzheimer’s by up to 40 percent? New research is uncovering clues that a diet rich in olive oil, nuts, fish, poultry and certain fresh fruits and vegetables may have the power to do just that. Once again, it comes back to diet.

Last April, researchers discovered that taking in nutrients specific to brain health led to a 40% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Yian Gu, an Alzheimer’s disease researcher, and her colleagues at Columbia University in New York, conducted the study that appeared in Archives of Neurology. (source:

"Diet is probably the easiest way to modify disease risk," said Gu. Further, prevention is of utmost importance, because there are currently no known cures for Alzheimer’s. With an aging population, studies like this one are critical to provide pathways to maintained health and wellness (and to potentially save money with reduced healthcare costs).

This study looked at an overall diet that combined noted brain health nutrients, including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin E, vitamin B12 and folate. Previous studies have focused solely on individual essential fatty acids benefits. Gu’s team studied groups of food together, more closely resembling real diets.

Of the 2,148 healthy people (over 65) who began the 4-year study, 253 developed Alzheimer’s disease. The group that was least likely to develop the brain disease ate more olive oil-based salad dressing, nuts, fish, tomatoes, poultry, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, fruits, and dark-green leafy vegetables. They also ate less red meat and high-fat dairy products.

Gu said this brain healthy diet likely works in one of two ways:  it may be protecting the brain from strokes, which might make it more vulnerable to Alzheimer's; or it could be that the nutrients -- such as omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and folate -- directly protect the brain.

"People who adhered mostly to this dietary pattern compared to others have about a 40 percent reduction in the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease," Gu said.



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