One of the key strategies of an Alzheimer’s prevention program involves healthy brain nutrition. A diet rich in antioxidant fruits and vegetables, omega-3 fats from fish and nuts, and whole grains will strengthen brain cells and protect the body from diabetes, which studies now show doubles the risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
Healthy brain nutrition does not just mean going on a weight-loss diet; it involves changing the way we think about food. We should stop just focusing on trying to lose weight, but aim instead for a new goal – to eat the kinds of foods that protect our bodies and our brains.
This means getting the right vitamins and nutrients to nourish the organs and cells of the body. Scientific evidence points to some foods that promote brain health and others that are best to avoid. A recent Columbia University study of more than 2000 people age 65 and older found a lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease in the volunteers who ate a greater amount of nuts, fish, tomatoes, poultry, vegetables, and fruits, and a lesser amount of high-fat dairy products, red meat, and butter. This and many other studies show that nutritious meals can help prevent many common health problems that influence brain function and risk for Alzheimer’s disease. As a bonus, most people do lose weight once they switch to such a diet.
During the past two decades, the prevalence of obesity in the US has risen dramatically. Today, more than 70 million Americans are obese, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity is a particular problem for people age 50 and older. A recent study found that being overweight doubles the risk for Alzheimer’s disease, while being obese will quadruple that risk.