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Your Diet and Alzheimer's Disease

- Monday, January 02, 2012

Alzheimer’s Disease, more and more people are trying to figure out how to prevent it, or at least, hold it off. Does eating a lot of fish and few processed foods really help protect against Alzheimer’s disease? A new study suggests that nutrition could play almost as strong a role as age, number of years of education, and high blood pressure, but not quite as much of a role as inherited genes.

In the study published in the journal Neurology, researchers measured the level of nutrients in the blood of nearly 300 seniors and found that those who had high levels of vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids - both found in salmon, tuna, and other fatty fish - high levels of vitamins C, E, and B - antioxidants found in fruits, nuts, and green leafy vegetables - appeared to have somewhat more protection against early symptoms of Alzheimer’s. They were less likely to have cognitive difficulties, memory problems, and brain shrinkage - an indicator of Alzheimer’s - than those who had low levels of these nutrients.

The researchers also found that those who had blood markers that indicated high levels of trans fats - margarine and other partially-hydrogenated oils used in doughnuts, cookies, and other processed foods - were more likely to have memory loss and brain shrinkage.

This study may have more strength than previous studies in that it verified dietary patterns through blood measurements rather than relying on dietary recall questionnaires, which can be unreliable.

“These results need to be confirmed, but obviously it is very exciting to think that people could potentially stop their brains from shrinking and keep them sharp by adjusting their diet,’’ said study author Gene Bowman, a professor of public health at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland.