If you have a family member with Alzheimer’s disease, you already know how devastating this diagnosis can be. Classified as the most common type of dementia, this disease can affect a variety of cognitive factors, including control of thought, memory, and language.
Unfortunately, if you have an immediate family history of this condition, you are also at increased risk of developing it. Although the development of this diagnosis is not guaranteed, experts share that people who have a parent or sibling with Alzheimer’s disease are more likely to develop the disease than those who do not have a first-degree relative with the disease.
The good news is that there are simple things you can do to improve your brain health, which can help reduce your personal risk of developing this disease.
Some lifestyle changes people can make include:
- Maintain healthy blood pressure
- Participate in regular physical activity
- Maintain the social link
- Include intellectual activity in your day, such as doing crosswords
- Protect yourself from head injuries by wearing a seat belt when driving and wearing a helmet when playing sports
When it comes to diet, unfortunately, no magic food will prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease. But there are certain foods that, when included in an overall healthy diet, can support brain health, memory function, and other symptoms that people with this condition tend to develop.
If you have a family history of Alzheimer’s disease, here are the eating habits you should follow to help keep your brain health in check. Read on, and for more on how to eat healthy, don’t miss The Best Juice to Drink Every Day, According to Science.
There are many diets that help people lose weight, lower blood pressure, and build muscle. But when it comes to brain health, the MIND diet is the star of the show.
As the name suggests, the MIND diet supports mental health! Hybrid of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), this diet is linked to reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease dementia in older adults.
Following the MIND diet means including the following foods in specific amounts:
- Green leafy vegetables: 6+ servings per week
- All other vegetables: at least once a day
- Berries: 2+ servings per week
- Nuts: 5+ servings per week
- Olive oil: Use olive oil as the main cooking oil.
- Whole grains: 3+ servings per day
- Fish: at least once a week
- Beans: 4+ servings per week
- Poultry: 2+ servings per week (not fried)
- Wine: Do not drink more than one glass a day.
- In addition to eating the approved foods, certain foods like butter, margarine, cheese, red meat, fried foods, and sweets are either limited or avoided.
Data shows that in nearly 1,000 people, the MIND diet reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 53 percent when the diet was strictly followed. Those who followed the MIND diet moderately experienced a risk reduction of around 35%.
Eggs are a complete nutrient powerhouse, a complete protein with essential vitamins and minerals for healthy living. They are one of the few foods high in choline, a nutrient that helps support lifelong brain health at all ages and stages, including memory, thinking, and mood. And while egg white and egg yolks contain important nutrients, the yolks are where this important nutrient is found.
A recent study supported by the American Egg Board found that egg consumption, even in limited amounts (about 1 egg per week), was linked to slower memory decline later in life compared to egg consumption. eggs. According to this study, those who ate the least number of eggs (less than about half an egg per week) had the highest rate of memory decline over time. Those who ate an “intermediate” amount of eggs (about half to 1 1/2 eggs per week) had a significantly lower rate of decline in memory performance compared to the low egg consumption group. In other words, even a very small amount of eggs included in the diet (as little as ½ to 1 egg per week) was associated with a beneficial impact on memory.
There is growing interest in the possible role of a healthy diet in protecting against later cognitive impairment, and new evidence continues to support that eggs are an important food in aiding healthy aging.
RELATED: 17 side effects of eating eggs every day
Apples naturally contain flavonoids that support brain health. And when it comes to reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, including apples and other flavonoid-rich foods can offer unique benefits and can really keep the doctor away (as the saying goes).
According to data published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutritionresearchers found that among nearly 3,000 people aged 50 or older, those who ate higher amounts of flavonoid-rich foods like apples were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
It seems that the high concentrations of flavonoids present in apples stimulate the creation of new neurons, which could prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease. One of these flavonoids found in the skin of the apple, quercetin, offers unique neuroprotective benefits.
READ MORE: What Happens To Your Body When You Eat An Apple Every Day?
Our brain depends on certain nutrients to stay healthy and function. DHA (short for docosahexaenoic acid), an omega-3 fatty acid mostly found in marine sources like fish, is one such nutrient that plays a key role in brain health and may even help reduce risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
According to the results of a systematic review that analyzed approximately 27,000 people, regular fish consumption was associated with 20% reduction in the risk of developing Alzheimer’s-type dementia. Specifically, the researchers found that adding a 3.5-ounce serving of fish to a diet every week was associated with an additional 12% reduction in the risk of Alzheimer’s-type dementia.
Many varieties of fish also contain selenium and choline, two key nutrients that play a role in the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease.
It is recommended to stick to varieties of fish that are low in mercury, as too much exposure to this metal can contribute negatively to cognitive problems. Salmon, skipjack tuna, and Alaskan pollock are all low-mercury fish choices that contain DHA omega.
There are more than 200 varieties of potatoes sold in the United States, and each type can give our dishes a boost of healthy carbohydrates, fiber and micronutrients. But if you opt for a purple-fleshed potato, you get a boost of a specific flavonoid called anthocyanin with your starchy vegetable.
Anthocyanins are what give purple potatoes and other purple/blue foods (like blueberries and purple cabbage) their beautiful, vibrant hue. And include these colorful sources of this flavonoid in your diet may help defend against Alzheimer’s disease.
Anthocyanins have a unique ability to reduce oxidative stress, suppress inflammation and inhibit sudden nerve cell death, all of which may have an impact on cognitive health.
Who doesn’t love that satisfying crunch when you bite into a piece of fried chicken or that pleasant flavor when you indulge in a fried Oreo at the local carnival?
Naturally, eating fried foods is something many of us crave. But overdoing it with fried foods may contribute to Alzheimer’s risk, thanks to advanced glycation end products (AGEs) produced as a byproduct.
According to a study published in PNASpeople with higher blood levels of AGEs had more problems with cognitive functioning against those who had lower levels. And when evaluating mice, those that ate more fried foods had more buildup of beta-amyloid protein plaques in their brains, which may play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Of course, more human studies are needed.
From beer to tequila to the new trendy spiked seltzer, liquor choices aren’t hard to come by. But, if you’re already an alcohol drinker, opting for red or white wine will be your best bet when trying to lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and stick to a maximum of one drink per day.
Wine is part of the MIND diet, a diet that, when followed, can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. And while the jury is still out on whether people should make it a point to include wine in their brain health dietopting for wine over other alcoholic beverages seems to be the best choice.