Can a Healthy Diet Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease?

*Published with Guest Blogger’s permission: By Josh Matthews

Can a Healthy Diet Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Recent studies have shown that the brain-healthy MIND diet can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease by up to 53%. Developed by Dr. Martha Clare Morris at Rush University Medical Center, MIND stands for “Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay”. The MIND diet takes the Mediterranean diet as well as the DASH diet and creates an eating plan that has a significant impact in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. It emphasizes eating from 10 brain-healthy food groups, and avoiding eating from 5 unhealthy food groups.

Brain-healthy food groups

The brain-healthy food groups include:

  • green leafy vegetables,
  • all kinds of vegetables,
  • nuts,
  • berries,
  • beans,
  • whole grains,
  • fish,
  • poultry,
  • olive oil, and
  • red wine.

Foods such as nuts and berries contain healthy fats, fiber, minerals, antioxidants, in addition to lowering cholesterol and improving cognitive function. Olive oil is especially important because of its ability to activate enzymes that remove the protein plaques in the brain that lead to Alzheimer’s. Fish like wild salmon are rich in unsaturated fatty acids that build up our reserves of good cholesterol. Red wine contains a substance that improves brain metabolism and further acts as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory delaying onset of dementia.

Unhealthy food groups

The unhealthy food groups in the MIND diet include red meat, butter and margarine, cheese, sweets, and fried foods. However, these can be permissible in moderation, like less than 1 serving per week, with the exception of butter that can be used daily. This all-inclusive and flexible diet is easier for people to adapt to, as they can have their own personalized recipes that satisfies appetites while building up a healthy immunity against dementia.

Other beneficial superfoods

Other superfoods that are found to have beneficial qualities in preventing Alzheimer’s Disease include coconut oil, spices such as cinnamon and turmeric, as well as chocolate and coffee. Coconut oil is a heart friendly oil that is cholesterol free, boosts thyroid function, and acts as an antioxidant. Cinnamon and turmeric spices have been known to boost memory and learning capacity, and should be included in brain-healthy diets. Contrary to popular belief, coffee and chocolate have beneficial qualities, like containing antioxidants that can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s. Foods rich in vitamin B-12 such as meat, fish, dairy products, and milk are a necessary inclusion into daily diets. These foods containing B-12 improves brain connectivity and reduces degeneration of the brain cells. Having iodized salt in your diet can prevent thyroxine deficiency, an important hormone needed for our cognition.

The MIND diet and the other brain-healthy superfoods are proven from research to significantly lower the risk of Alzheimer ’s disease. Eating a brain-healthy diet, is a long term investment into our retirement age, to keep our memory and cognition intact as long as we can.


Community Resources are Available

Adult day programs, in-home assistance, visiting nurses and meal delivery are just some of the services that can help you manage daily tasks. Use our online Community Resource Finder or contact your local Alzheimer’s Association chapter for assistance in finding Alzheimer’s care resources in your community. Use Alzheimer’s Navigator, our free online tool that helps evaluate your needs, identify action steps and connect with local programs and services.

Dealing with Alzheimer’s is hard. Getting in touch with us easy! Our Alzheimer’s HELPline is available all day, everyday, in over 200 languages at 800.272.3900.

AlzTex Admin

The Alzheimer's Association Houston & Southeast Texas Chapter (www.alz.org/texas) consists of families, caregivers, scientists, health professionals, and concerned citizens who are committed to finding a cure for Alzheimer's Disease and to easing the burden of Alzheimer's Disease and related disorders on patients and their families and loved ones.