Curious about 5 foods that may prevent Alzheimer’s disease? Research into the causes and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease is ongoing. Current theory points to cell damage by free radicals as one cause of mental decline. Inflammation of tissue and the build-up of sticky amyloid plaques in the brain are also indicative of Alzheimer’s disease. Although there are many factors determining who develops Alzheimer’s, it is useful to look at the diets of those who avoid the disease. Certain foods seem to have a protective effect, and there may even be foods that prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
- Fish may prevent Alzheimer's disease. Fish contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids which are already associated with increased cardiovascular health. Fish also seems to be a key factor in fighting the degenerative effects of memory loss. According to research at Rush University Medical Center, people consuming fish once a week had a sixty percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease compared with non-fish eaters.
- Blueberries and other dark-colored berries are excellent sources of antioxidants and may prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Antioxidants reduce damage from free radicals that can damage cells. Anthocyanin, the same chemical that gives blueberries their rich color, has been shown to increase brain cell communication. It also plays a role in reducing harmful inflammation which can lead to better cognitive function.
- Many nuts contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Added to this is a significant dose of the powerful antioxidant vitamin E. Vitamin E has been shown in improve some function in Alzheimer’s patients. Nuts, including cashews, walnuts and pistachios, may be a powerful food to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
- Tumeric, also known as curcumin, gives Indian curry dishes their distinctive yellow hue and flavor, and may prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Recent studies suggest that tumeric may enhance the body’s ability to destroy amyloid plaques that build up in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. People in India who eat the traditional curry cuisine are four times less likely to have Alzheimer’s disease than people in the United States.
- In laboratory studies, high doses of caffeine reversed the affects of Alzheimer’s disease. Mice which were genetically altered to exhibit Alzheimer’s symptoms were given the equivalent of 500mg of caffeine. At the end of the study their cognition had improved to match healthy peers. In addition, amyloid plaques had been reduced by half. Taken before symptoms occurred, caffeine seemed to protect the brains of those prone to developing Alzheimer’s disease. Caffeine is not without risks, and any extreme diet changes should be cleared by a doctor.
"You are what you eat" is more than an old adage. These five foods, along with a healthy lifestyle, may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. As with any life changes, it is important to consult with a doctor before beginning a new diet regimen.