Aug. 28, 2013 -- intro: "You may be able to reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease by a whopping 70 to 80 percent," says Dr. Neal Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, the non-profit organizations that sponsored the first annual International Conference on Nutrition and the Brain in Washington DC.
Sixteen researchers presented compelling evidence about why the following seven habits could help warn off many neurological disorders, not just Alzheimer's, that steal our mind.
quicklist: 1category: How to Prevent Alzheimer's Diseasetitle: Minimize your intake saturated and trans fatsurl:text: These "bad" fats tend to increase blood cholesterol levels, which encourage the production of dangerous beta-amyloid plaques in the brain—a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. In the Chicago Health and Aging Study, people consuming the most saturated fat had triple the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
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quicklist: 2category: How to Prevent Alzheimer's Diseasetitle: Vegetables, legumes, fruits, and whole grains should be staples in your dieturl:text: These foods are rich in vitamins and minerals that protect the brain such as vitamin B6 and folate. The Chicago Health and Aging Study found that a high intake of fruits and vegetables was associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline. A plant-rich diet also reduces your risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, both of which can play a role in Alzheimer's disease.
quicklist: 3category: How to Prevent Alzheimer's Diseasetitle: Get about 5 mg of vitamin E dailyurl:text: This antioxidant has been linked to a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease and can easily be consumed by eating small handful of nuts or seeds or munching on mangoes, papayas, avocadoes, tomatoes, red bell peppers, spinach, and fortified breads and cereals. But stick to food sources, says Dr. Barnard. Taking a supplement doesn't seem offer the same benefit.
quicklist: 4category: How to Prevent Alzheimer's Diseasetitle: Pop a B12 supplementurl:text: Getting adequate amounts of this B vitamin (about 2.4 mcg per day), found in animal products and fortified foods, helps reduce levels of homocysteine, an amino acid linked to cognitive impairment. In an Oxford University study of older adults with elevated homocysteine levels and memory problems, B vitamin supplementation improved memory and reduced brain atrophy. If you're over 50 or follow a plant-based diet, taking a supplement is extra important.
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quicklist: 5category: How to Prevent Alzheimer's Diseasetitle: Avoid multivitamins with iron and copper unless otherwise directed by your doctorurl:text: Most people get adequate levels of these metals through their diet, and ingesting them in excess has been linked to cognitive problems.
quicklist: 6category: How to Prevent Alzheimer's Diseasetitle: Avoid cooking with aluminum pots and pansurl:text: Instead, opt for stainless steel or cast iron cookware. While aluminum's role in brain functioning is still under investigation, preliminary data suggests that it may contribute to cognitive problems.
quicklist: 7category: How to Prevent Alzheimer's Diseasetitle: Walk briskly three times a week for at least 40 minutesurl:text: Research suggests that regular aerobic exercise can reduce your risk for dementia by 40 to 50 percent.
By adopting all of the above habits you may be setting your brain up to be around for the long haul.