ISLAMABAD: A recent study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease sheds light on dietary choices that can significantly reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The research stresses the adoption of recognized eating patterns such as the Mediterranean, DASH, and MIND diets for cognitive health, identifying specific foods to include and avoid.
The Mediterranean diet, characterized by high consumption of olive oil, fish, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, with moderate amounts of dairy, poultry, and alcohol, is highlighted for its positive impact on cognitive health. Similarly, the DASH diet, focusing on grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy with limited red meat and sweets, is acknowledged for its cognitive benefits. The MIND diet, combining elements of the Mediterranean and DASH diets, emphasizes olive oil, fish, whole grains, berries, and green leafy vegetables.
Conversely, the Western diet, marked by high fat, processed foods, and meat consumption, is associated with poor cognitive outcomes. This diet, lacking in fruits, vegetables, and essential nutrients, is characterized by 70% of calories originating from animal foods, oils, fats, and sweeteners.
Best Foods to Support Brain Health
While no single food guarantees immunity from Alzheimer’s, the study identifies specific foods that may contribute to maintaining brain health, particularly within established brain-supporting dietary patterns like the MIND diet.
Highlighted for their lignan content, walnuts are believed to reduce neurodegeneration and inhibit inflammatory pathways in the brain. Rich in anthocyanins, red, violet, or blue produce can positively impact brain health by reducing oxidative stress and tau protein aggregation, key factors in Alzheimer’s.
Packed with nutrients, hazelnuts contain phenolic acid and flavonoids like quercetin, potentially decreasing tau phosphorylation and reducing protein oxidation in the brain. Spinach and kale provide folate, lutein, and vitamin K, supporting brain health by managing homocysteine levels and offering essential nutrients.
Coldwater oily fish, including salmon, offer DHA omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, known to reduce inflammation, provide antioxidant capabilities, and lower the risk of Alzheimer’s. Rich in choline and lutein, eggs support brain health by potentially reducing harmful brain proteins and aiding neurotransmitter production, although not explicitly listed in the study.