Alzheimer’s is a severe illness that affects a person’s ability to perform ordinary life functions and live on their own.
It’s a type of dementia that impacts the way a person thinks, memory, and behavior. It becomes worse over time.
Though Alzheimer’s is most likely to develop in older individuals over 65, more than six million people from every age group face the condition.
And the numbers are growing.
While there is currently no known cure, there are ways to help prevent Alzheimer’s. One of the best ways to lower your risk is through nutrition.
Interested in learning more?
Here are some foods that can help prevent the development or worsening of Alzheimer’s:
Top Foods That Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk
It’s incredible and true.
What you eat can reduce or significantly delay your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by up to 53 percent.
Eating some foods (while avoiding others) can help maintain verbal memory and cognitive function. That could slow the natural decline as you age.
Let’s explore a few of the foods researchers have linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s.
1. Whole Grains
Whole grains are a standard dietary recommendation, particularly for preventing Alzheimer’s.
Try to eat about three servings of whole grains per day.
Even those who need to eat gluten-free foods can still find a way to fit whole grains into their diet.
Whole-grain foods include:
- Whole oats (gluten-free)
- Brown rice (gluten-free)
- Whole grain bread and pasta
- Whole wheat
- Whole barley
2. Leafy Vegetables
Leafy vegetables are most important in preventing Alzheimer’s. That’s according to observational research among older adults who faced delayed cognitive decline or did not develop it at all.
Vegetables are also low-calorie, with high levels of critical nutrients that can help maintain your health.
Eat lots of leafy greens like:
- Collard greens
- Bok choy
3. Lean Poultry and Fish
Another critical factor in preventing Alzheimer’s is eating enough lean protein.
It’s a good idea to enjoy fish at least once a week and lean poultry at least twice per week. Be sure to use olive oil while cooking and limit butter and butter alternatives like margarine.
Whenever possible, select poultry and fish raised naturally or organically, fed vegetarian diets, and free from antibiotics.
Love red meat?
You don’t have to give it up entirely. But try to keep consumption down to less than three servings per week (and keep it lean).
Beans (also known as legumes) pack a major nutrition punch and have excellent health benefits.
Also a perk?
They help you prevent or delay cognitive decline.
Beans are a powerful source of protein, containing just as much as meats but without saturated fat. They also contain vital nutrients like zinc, fiber, iron, potassium, and calcium.
Beans and legumes you could try include:
- Pinto beans
- Black beans
- Kidney beans
- Black-eyed peas
If you love snacking on nuts, you’re in luck. Nuts are a delicious way to get the brain-boosting nutrients you need to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s.
In fact, eating nuts at least five times per week can have immense benefits.
The best part?
Nuts are delicious and have several extra health benefits. These snacks have a high level of antioxidants and potential anti-inflammatory properties.
Some of the most popular nuts include:
- Brazil nuts
Does Nutrition Really Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk?
Studies show that eating some foods while avoiding others can lower the risk of Alzheimer’s or delayed disease development.
Why does it work?
Researchers are still hoping to determine exactly how diet factors into the prevention of Alzheimer’s. It could be that avoiding other health issues like high blood pressure, obesity, and inflammation — which could be precursors to Alzheimer’s — is the key to preventing it.
What Is The MIND Diet?
The MIND diet combines two healthy diet regimens:
The Mediterranean diet and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet.
The acronym MIND stands for the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay.
Both of these diets have links to lower blood pressure and reduced risk of heart disease, on top of maintaining a healthy weight. Also, many believe that those who follow the MIND diet can reduce or delay the development of Alzheimer’s.
10 Foods the MIND Diet Encourages
We’ve already discussed five foods that can help you prevent Alzheimer’s, but the MIND diet also has a list of ten recommended foods:
- Lean poultry
- Green leafy vegetables
- Wine (limit to 1 glass per day)
- Whole grains
- Olive oil
- Low-starch vegetables
5 Foods the MIND Diet Says To Avoid
Avoiding specific foods may be just as important in preventing Alzheimer’s as the foods you do eat.
Here are five foods the MIND diet recommends you avoid as much as possible:
- Red meat and pork
- Processed foods and sweets
- Fried food
- Butter or margarine
Eating these foods occasionally is unlikely to have a long-term impact. But it’s essential to opt for the ten recommended food categories most of the time.
What Are the Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s Disease?
Wondering if you’re at risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease?
Though people older than 65 tend to be more likely to develop Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia, it can impact people of any age.
Research points to several risk factors.
Most people who begin developing Alzheimer’s are over 65, with the risk increasing over time.
Even though Alzheimer’s is becoming increasingly common, it’s not a “normal” part of the aging process.
Genetics and Family History
There is strong evidence that having a family history of Alzheimer’s increases your likelihood of developing the disease.
This may come from genetics or environmental factors that family members share. Yet, more research is necessary to know for sure.
Studies are still underway to learn how general health impacts your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. But scientists believe there may be a connection to heart conditions, obesity, and even a history of head injury.
Alzheimer’s can be devastating, both for the individual and the loved ones who must find a way to care for them as the disease progresses.
With the number of cases on the rise, it’s never too early to begin preventative lifestyle changes.
One of the healthiest ways to keep your brain sharp is to eat nutritious foods, like those we’ve discussed in this article.
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Caitlin Sinclair is the Property Manager at REVO with 5 years of property management experience and many more in Customer Service. She shares her passion for her community and looks forward to making REVO a place to call home.