Likewise, the Standard American Diet (SAD) along with a sedentary lifestyle can encourage the build-up of unwanted plaques affecting the brain. Experts suggest following a Mediterranean-style diet to help decrease one’s Alzheimer’s risk. Additionally, not only can a nutrient-dense Mediterranean –style diet help to deter Alzheimer’s risk, such dietary implementations can also influence the body’s cortisol levels and in turn promote improved sleep- also necessary as mentioned prior. A Mediterranean- style diet is characterized by eating primarily plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and complex carbohydrates. It suggests eating a moderate amount of fish (at least twice a week) and having olive oil as the main source of fats, rather than butter, saturated fats, and fried food. The Mediterranean diet promotes using herbs and spices to season food rather than salt (Sofi et al., 2010).
More specific dietary suggestions to decrease Alzheimer’s risk include eating:
- At least 1-2 servings of dark leafy greens and/or vegetables a day
- Dark-colored berries: blueberries or blackberries which are loaded with antioxidants to decrease brain aging
- Nuts, which provide healthy fats and vitamin E. Specifically Brazil nuts which also contain selenium important for brain protection
- Beans, which provide a lot of fiber and help decrease inflammation in the body
- Lean protein like chicken or turkey which contain important amino acids required for proper neurotransmitter levels and proper cell signaling
- Fish like salmon, tuna, and trout containing Omega 3 fatty acids
- Other healthy fats like flaxseed, olive oil, and avocados/avocado oil in salads or dressings
Other key dietary components include limiting refined sugars and sweets and limiting consumption of grain-fed red meat to no more than a few times a month. Other key vitamins associated with protection against degenerative changes in the brain include Vit B12, B1, B3, Vit C, and Vit E.