7 nutrients to protect your brain: Flavanols, fish, nuts, and blueberries may prevent Alzheimer's

Posted at 5:53 PM, Apr 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-06 17:53:01-04

Alzheimer’s Disease is the sixth leading cause of death among Americans. It’s irreversible and progressive, and more than 90% of those diagnosed didn’t see any symptoms until after the age of 60. 

Scientists have been working to pinpoint the cause and a cure for this form of dementia that destroys memory and thinking skills. 

I often talk about the impact of healthy foods and a diet full of nutrient dense foods may improve your cognitive function or memory.  So what are these nutrients and foods?

Here’s the list:

Omega-3 Fatty Acids found in salmon, mackerel and tuna may boost your brain power and help your heart.   A 2014 study of mice found had improved cognitive function while they aged.

Also on the list are Nuts. Like fish they contain Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Walnuts in particular have shown to fight memory loss. One study found participants' performances on cognitive tests improved after adding walnuts to their diet.

Magnesium is another important nutrient. A deficiency may play a role in cognitive decline and brain aging. Be sure to eat magnesium containing foods like spinach, almonds, black beans, and avocados.

Also on the list are blueberries, a favorite fruit of mine. They contain compounds associated with an increased neuronal signaling in the brain’s memory areas.

Cruciferous vegetables should be part of everyone’s diet. Broccoli and spinach in particular have been shown to reduce the rate of cognitive decline.

And lastly, green tea is known to help protect your brain. A study found green tea extract enhanced participant’s working memory and thinking process.

Nutrient dense foods are important to help ward off or delay Alzheimer’s, but it’s very important to lead a healthy lifestyle overall. 

Here are my prescriptions:

  • Make regular exercise a priority. It may directly benefit brain cells by increasing blood flow and oxygen.
  • Keep Mentally Active. Brain activities can stimulate new connections between nerve cells.
  • Protect Your Head. Serious head trauma is linked to future risk of Alzheimer’s so wear a seat belt and use a helmet for sports or bike riding.
  • Get enough sleep. Studies have linked sleep deprivation to Alzheimer’s disease. Aim for 7-8 hours a night.

There is no proven way to prevent or cure Alzheimer's disease. The best defense is to be your own health hero.  Take charge of your health, make it a priority by physically, mentally and socially and you’ll lower your risk for this debilitating disease.