Can You Fight Dementia with Your Diet?

inflamation-in-handThe role that diet plays in preventing or causing Alzheimer’s has long been a topic of interest. Researchers are fairly certain that food choices matter. While the cause of Alzheimer’s still isn’t known, there is evidence that seems to indicate food may play a role in both developing and preventing the disease.

Inflammation Fighting Foods

Plaques building up in the brain are thought to be a leading cause of Alzheimer’s. Researchers believe foods that cause inflammation may contribute to the development of these plaques. Eating a well-balanced diet that contains inflammation fighting foods may help you decrease your for Alzheimer’s.

Foods considered to be good at preventing inflammation include:

  • Leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach, and romaine.
  • Cold water fish high in omega-3 fatty acids including tuna, sardines and salmon.
  • Dark-skinned fruits like blueberries, blackberries, purple grapes and plums.
  • Olive oil and cold-pressed coconut oil for use in meal preparation and cooking.
  • Flavonols found in coffee, chocolate, apples and pomegranates.
  • Healthy nuts like flax seed, walnuts, pistachios and almonds.

Foods that Increase Inflammation in the Body

On the other side of the food equation are the foods thought to contribute to inflammation. The first group is those foods that contain white flour and white sugar. Researchers believe the spikes in blood sugar levels these foods cause lead to inflammation in the body which, in turn, increases the risk for Alzheimer’s.

Two more ingredients to watch food labels for are nitrates and diacetyl. They are also linked to inflammation. Processed luncheon meats, hot dogs, microwave popcorn, cheese and beer often contain one or both of these.

Dietary Programs that Promote Brain Health

There are several diet programs that are recommended for overall heart and brain health. To learn more about them, visit Adopt a Healthy Diet at the Alzheimer’s Association.