What you don’t eat can be as important as what you do eat to help prevent or delay Alzheimer’s disease. Much as doctors now focus on prevention to reduce the risk of heart disease, they are now beginning to believe a similar approach could work for Alzheimer’s disease. According to Dr. Miles Hassell, “We know from observational studies that people who eat a Mediterranean diet are far less likely to get Alzheimer’s.”
Dr. Hassell suggests avoiding packaged, processed foods, soft drinks, sugar and artificial sweeteners. He says, ” Just learn to enjoy less sweet foods. Some of the studies show that reduced sugar intake improves cognitive function. It’s modest, but it appears to be real.
He recommends eating several servings of vegetables a day, plus nuts and whole grains and avoiding corn syrup, especially high fructose corn syrup. “I would really just get rid of most of the refined carbohydrates. Replace the sugars, the white flour products, the pastries, the pastas with whole grain products.”
He also encourages everyone to get outside and walk or exercise, saying, “Make that a priority. It’s as important as brushing your teeth.”
Dr. Hassell believes a healthy diet, together with regular exercise, is the key to preventing Alzheimer’s disease. He added, “Historically anything that prevents a disease usually slows down the progression of the disease as well. So our bet is that we will find this will slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s as well.”
So just say no to fast food, skip the burger and fries, hold the mac and cheese, and you just may live a longer, dementia free life. The evidence is piling up that Dr. Hasson and his colleagues are right, and you should pay attention.