Alzheimer’s Prevention Diet: 11 Tasty Foods that Reduce Dementia Risk

Some risks for developing Alzheimer's and dementia are out of our control, but our diet is a prevention method we can control. Our diet is not only tied to our body health, it is also directly related to our brain health. When we take the time to watch what we eat and care for our overall health, we give ourselves and our loved ones a gift — the gift of caring about ourselves and the time we have. Find out which 11 foods may reduce dementia risk. 

Mixed Berries
  1. Berries
    • Eating strawberries, blueberries and acai fruit appears to counteract some of the declines in cognition that were noticed in research related to poor diet.
  2. Coffee/Caffeine
    • Both caffeine in general and coffee specifically have been associated with cognitive benefits, including a significantly lower risk of progression from mild cognitive impairment to dementia.
  3. Apples
    • Apple juice was shown in research to reverse memory loss in mice caused by a deficient diet, as well as protect their brains from the hallmark buildup of beta amyloid protein that is present in Alzheimer's disease.
  4. Nuts
    • Several studies have connected nut consumption to a lower risk of dementia. While some research demonstrates improved memory and recall in people whose cognitive functioning is normal, other research has shown that nuts may even be able to improve memory in those who already have Alzheimer's disease.
  5. Some Types of Cocoa/Chocolate
    • In my opinion, this is the tastiest way to reduce the risk of dementia. Multiple studies have associated cocoa and dark chocolate with a lower chance of cognitive decline.
  6. Low to Moderate Amounts of Alcohol
    • This is a controversial one since there are some risks associated with drinking alcohol, but multiple research studies demonstrated a cognitive benefit for those who drank light to moderate amounts of alcohol. There are some people who should never drink alcohol, such as alcoholics, those with Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome and those for whom it will interact with their medications.
  7. Fish
    • The omega-3-fatty acids found in certain types of fish have been touted as great for your brain health, and most research conducted on this has agreed.
  8. Cinnamon
    • Multiple studies have demonstrated that cinnamon, when given to mice, was correlated with an improvement in the ability to clear the buildup of protein in the brain that's connected with Alzheimer's disease, as well as improve memory and other cognitive functioning. Researchers have often, but not always, found that results in mice are similar to those in humans.
  9. Curcumin/Turmeric
    • Like curry? Curcumin has been demonstrated to be highly correlated with both preventing cognitive decline and treating dementia already present in mice. One challenge for humans is that our bodies often don't easily absorb curcumin.
  10. Fruits and Vegetables
    • A heart-healthy diet of fruit and vegetables has been connected to a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease. Load that plate with colorful veggies and fruits to ensure that you're meeting your body's needs for vitamins.
  11. Mediterranean Diet
    • As opposed to one specific food, the Mediterranean diet is an overall approach to eating and includes several of the foods previously listed. It has been demonstrated to be strongly connected to improved cognitive functioning and a lower risk of the development of dementia.
Author
Esther Heerema, MSW