Two Foods That Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

Prevent-Alzheimers-Disease-SalmonThe prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease doubles every five years after the age of sixty, and here is the scary number: Alzheimer’s is found in up to forty percent of those eighty-five years and older.  It is never too late to begin working on preventing it, but the younger, the better.

A recent study reported in the medical journal Neurology, found that eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, these are one of the “good fats,” may protect against premature aging of the brain and memory problems in late middle age.

This study is the first to link blood levels of omega-3s with brain shrinkage, mild memory loss, and declines in cognitive function, all of which are associated with a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

1,575 people between the ages of 58 and 76 underwent MRI brain scans, blood work, and various mental-function tests. Comparing those with the highest blood levels of omega-3s, it was found that men and women with the lowest levels had smaller brain volumes and performed more poorly on tests of visual memory and abstract reasoning. The higher the omega-3s, the better the performance.

Beta-amyloid protein plays a significant role in the findings of changes in the brain of people who are developing Alzheimer’s.  If the brain tissue is studied, there are fibers found, made up of what is called amyloid protein, as well as little nerve fiber tangles found in the brain tissue.  Studies have shown people who have higher levels of beta-amyloid in their blood, are found to develop Alzheimer’s more frequently than those who don’t have beta-amyloid floating around in their blood.

Omega-3s have long been associated with positive benefits for memory and cognition.  Studies are being reported in the medical literature showing a relationship between how much Omega-3 you eat with how much beta-amyloid is in your blood. They found that the more omega3 a person consumes, the lower their blood level of beta amyloid. The equivalent of eating half a fillet of salmon a week, was found to be associated with 20% to 30% lower blood levels of beta amyloid.

The American Academy of Neurology presented data showing that higher dietary intake of omega-3, resulted in lower plasma levels of beta-amyloid, and that this was a profile that was linked with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s Disease and slower cognitive decline.

The two main foods containing the largest amount of omega-3 are fish and nuts. Salmon contains the most, with tuna second.  Walnuts lead the list for nuts, but almonds are also high in content. There are varying amounts of omega-3 three found in many other fish and nuts, but it would be a good eating lifestyle to begin focusing on fish as a main course and nuts as snack, rather than steaks and cookies.

There are additional actions you can take to help prevent Alzheimer’s Dementia. The American Medical Association has shown that both – a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, cereal, peas, beans, olive oil, fish, and nuts, plus exercise, are independently associated with reduced risk for Alzheimer’s Disease.

Commit to developing a lifestyle that not only will protect your heart, but also your mind.  The next time you eat dinner out, order salmon rather than a steak.




“Steak Salmon” image by mrsiraphol courtesy of