Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health
Seven Things You Can Do to Avoid Alzheimer's, Boost
International researchers identify dietary and
lifestyle guidelines for Alzheimer’s prevention; special feature in
Neurobiology of Aging
May 16, 2014 – Seven points of advice on dietary
and lifestyle guidelines that will boost brain health and lower your
risk of Alzheimer’s were made available today by Neurobiology of
Aging in advance of their publication of a special supplement on
“Alzheimer’s disease isn’t a natural part of
aging,” notes lead author Neal Barnard, M.D., president of the nonprofit
Physicians Committee and an adjunct professor of medicine at the George
Washington University School of Medicine.
“By staying active and moving plant-based foods to
the center of our plates, we have a fair shot at rewriting our genetic
code for this heart-wrenching , and costly, disease.”
Alzheimer’s Disease International predicts
Alzheimer’s rates will triple worldwide by 2050. The Alzheimer’s
Association predicts long-term care costs start at $41,000 per year.
The seven guidelines to
reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease are:
1. Minimize your intake of saturated fats and trans
Saturated fat is found primarily in dairy products,
meats, and certain oils (coconut and palm oils). Trans
fats are found in many snack pastries and fried foods
and are listed on labels as “partially hydrogenated
2. Eat plant-based foods.
Vegetables, legumes (beans, peas, and lentils),
fruits, and whole grains should replace meats and dairy
products as primary staples of the diet.
3. Consume 15 micrograms of vitamin E, from foods, each
Vitamin E should come from foods, rather than
supplements. Healthful food sources of vitamin E include
seeds, nuts, green leafy vegetables, and whole grains.
Note: The RDA for vitamin E is 15 milligrams per day.
4. Take a B12 supplement.
A reliable source of B12, such as fortified foods or
a supplement providing at least the recommended daily
allowance (2.4 micrograms per day for adults), should be
part of your daily diet. Note: Have your blood levels of
vitamin B12 checked regularly as many factors, including
age, impair absorption.
5. Avoid vitamins with iron and copper.
If using multivitamins, choose those without iron
and copper, and consume iron supplements only when
directed by your physician.
6. Choose aluminum-free products.
While aluminum’s role in Alzheimer’s disease remains a
matter of investigation, those who desire to minimize
their exposure can avoid the use of cookware, antacids,
baking powder, or other products that contain aluminum.
7. Exercise for 120 minutes each week.
Include aerobic exercise in your routine, equivalent
to 40 minutes of brisk walking, three times per week.
Other preventive measures, such as getting a
minimum of seven hours of sleep each night and participating in 30 to 40
minutes of mental activity most days of the week, such as completing
crossword puzzles, reading the newspaper, or learning a new language,
can only help boost brain health.
“We spend trillions of dollars each year on failed
drug trials,” notes study author Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D.,
Physicians Committee director of nutrition education.
“Let’s take a portion of these funds and invest in
educational programs to help people learn about foods that are now
clinically proven to be more effective in fighting this global
The preliminary guidelines to reduce risk of
Alzheimer’s were formed at the International Conference on Nutrition and
the Brain in Washington on July 19 and 20, 2013.
The full guidelines are available at
Aging for those who subscribe. There is a fee for access
Learn how to prevent Alzheimer's with these
seven tips for brain
For an advance copy of the Dietary and Lifestyle
Guidelines for the Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease or to interview one
of the study authors, please contact Jessica Frost at
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for
Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes
preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher
standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.
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