The Anti-Alzheimer's Diet

The way you eat – healthy combinations of food, ongoing dietary habits and food group choices – can lower your risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease by nearly 40 percent.

A recent study at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York City found that eating foods that are high in polyunsaturated fat, folate, and vitamin E, and low in saturated fat may provide protection against Alzheimer's Disease.

 In the study, recently published in the Archives of Neurology, researchers analyzed the dietary patterns of 2,148 people aged 65 and older over a period of four years. When looking at the subjects' dietary habits, they found that those who consumed a healthful mix of nutrients from salad dressing, nuts, fish, tomatoes, poultry, fruits, cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli and brussles sprouts), and dark-green leafy vegetables had a lower incidence of the disease. In addition, they tended to consume lower amounts of high-fat dairy food, red meat, organ meat, and butter.

Specific nutrients may certainly be at work in these particular foods. For example, nuts contain vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant that may guard against the disease. Polyunsaturated fats, or omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid, such as those found in fish and salad dressings, have a positive effect on atherosclerosis and blood clotting, which can both affect brain function. And cruciferous vegetables are high in folate, which may have an impact on Alzheimer's disease by reducing circulating homocysteine levels.

However, the lead researcher believes that the overall eating behavior is the key. The nearly 40 percent lower risk of Alzheimer's was associated with the dietary pattern taken as a whole, rather than the inclusion or elimination of one or two particular foods. Just adding fish or nuts to an otherwise poor diet won't give the same benefits.

If the model of this potential Alzheimer's protective diet sounds familiar – heavy in fish, poultry, nuts, fruits and cruciferous vegetables, and light in saturated/animal fats – that is because it is basically the Mediterranean Diet!

This study now adds to a large body of science supporting a Mediterranean-style diet. It seems that the diet followed by people living along the Mediterranean Sea results in some of the lowest rates of colon cancer and breast cancer, in the world, as well as fewer problems with inflammatory conditions, arthritis, blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, lung disease, allergies and menopause.

The Mediterranean diet was also found to be the only dietary pattern associated with a lower risk for heart disease, and has even been associated with a statistically significant reduction in total mortality.

The Mediterranean diet is very similar to the diet outlined in Genesis1:29 and 9:3. For more details on how to follow the diet's guidelines, see Dr. Cherry's Mediterranean Diet video.