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April 2024
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An Appetite for Alzheimer’s Avoidance

Researchers Say Diet Influences Alzheimer’s Risk

Columbia researchers say you can cut your risk for Alzheimer's disease through proper nutrition.

One fact that I’ve hammered over my readers’ heads over the years is the prevalence of heart disease.  It remains the number one cause of death for Americans, but believe it or not, between the years 2000 and 2006, there’s been an 11 percent drop in heart disease related deaths.  Other conditions where there’s been a decline in deaths include stroke (18 percent fewer), prostate cancer (8 percent fewer) and HIV (16 percent fewer).

That’s good news, but as is typical when good news is reported, here comes the bad news: There’s been a dramatic rise in Alzheimer’s related deaths.  In fact, comparing 2006 to 2000, there’s been a near 50 percent rise in Alzheimer’s related deaths, making it the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S.  Approximately 26 million people have Alzheimer’s in the world, 5.3 million of whom live stateside.

While advances are being made every day in doctors’ knowledge about this mysterious brain disease, there’s no cure for it.  Medicines are available to slow its progression, but nothing can stop its advancement.  In short, once you have it, you can’t get rid of it.

Thus, prevention remains your best defense.  And it’s becoming clearer and clearer that it all starts with your diet.  Researchers from Columbia University confirm this.

Researchers discovered this recently after analyzing the dieting habits of approximately 2,150 adults over the age of 65 for four years.  Through food frequency questionnaires and annual checkups (i.e., every 18 months), they wanted to see if there was any correlation between what people were eating and whether or not they were eventually diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

According to their results, people who tended to eat a diet similar to the Mediterranean diet – one that’s rich in vegetable oils like olive oil, fresh fruits and vegetables like berries and broccoli, as well as nuts like almonds and walnuts—were 40 percent less likely to have developed Alzheimer’s disease.  Other brain boosting foods include seafood sources high in omega-3s like snapper and salmon.

The people more likely to have developed Alzheimer’s were those who ate diets high in saturated fat from food sources like butter, organ meat and red meat.

The full findings appear in the pages of the Archives of Neurology.

Yet more evidence that our diet plays a HUGE role in how healthy our mind will be.  No, a healthy diet doesn’t guarantee you’ll be from Alzheimer’s disease, but if you’ve had relatives with Alzheimer’s, you’d be foolish not to take every precaution available.  Not much is known about Alzheimer’s but what is known is that’s its hereditary.


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