Can what you eat reduce the risk of Alzheimer's?

June 05, 2017 | by Nina Lundberg, MD

As we age, our brains get a little slower on the draw.

You might forget where you put your keys, or what time your appointment is. You may even forget what day it is or the name of a famous actor you like, but you recover and remember fairly quickly.

When your memory loss disrupts your daily life — you can’t retrace your steps and find your missing keys, or you can’t tell what season it is — it could be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease.

Your next question may be: how do I prevent this from happening to me?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear-cut prevention method. Alzheimer’s disease and dementia evolve because of a combination of factors such as your age, genetics, medical conditions and environment.

While you can’t change some factors, you can control others and reduce your risk. The food you eat is one of the things you can control.

You may have heard of the DASH diet or the Mediterranean diet — both emphasize heart-healthy foods and are great for lowering blood pressure, weight loss and cardiovascular health.

The MIND diet is a combination of those two, with a focus on “brain-healthy” food that can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. According to a recent U.S. News and World Report review, the MIND diet focuses on 10 healthy foods:

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • All other vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Berries
  • Beans
  • Whole grains
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Olive oil
  • Wine

The diet advises followers to avoid red meats, butter and stick margarine, cheeses, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast foods.

Eating healthy as the MIND diet recommends would help improve your overall health, not just your brain. What you eat can help prevent heart disease, diabetes and other diseases, as well as mental decline.

Are your memory problems something to be concerned about? Learn more.

The experts at the Edward-Elmhurst Health can help you recognize the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, and discuss individualized treatment options. Learn more.

Join us at noon on Thursday, Nov. 21 at Elmhurst Hospital for a Lunch & Learn titled "Alzheimer's Know the 10 Signs." You'll learn about typical age-related changes, common warning signs of Alzheimer’s, how to approach someone with memory concerns, early detection, and the benefits of a diagnosis. Register now.

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