Certain foods can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's and keep your brain sharp in general. NY1's Jill Urban filed the following report.
We’ve all heard the expression you are what you eat, and that is especially true when it comes to taking care of your brain.
Dr. Richard Isaacson is the director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention and Treatment Program at NY Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center.
“The food that a person eats absolutely has an impact on their cognition or memory and thinking skills both early on in their lives and the type of dietary patterns that they follow as well as later on in life too,” says Isaacson.
Isaacson also says your diet can actually delay cognitive decline and reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s Disease.
It’s all about reducing insulin spikes, usually caused by bad carbohydrates.
“So repeated insulin spikes over time leads to brain aging and inflammation of the brain, so the goal would be to have more good carbohydrates rather than bad carbohydrates. Bad carbohydrates like white pastas, white breads, high fructose corn syrup and lots of white sugars—as opposed to good carbohydrates that don’t cause the insulin to spike as much,” Isaacson says.
Good carbohydrates include things like fruits and vegetables. In fact, one study found that eating a half a cup of blueberries and strawberries at least twice a week could delay cognitive impairment by two years.
In general, he says the Mediterranean style diet can have the most benefit for Alzheimer’s risk reduction.
“Mediterranean style means plant-based foods, lean meats, green, leafy vegetables, healthy fat...olive oil in moderation, wine in moderation.”
Other brain healthy foods include Omega-3 Fatty Acids, dark cocoa powder and low fat dairy. Some research also suggests caffeine earlier in the day may also delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s Disease can begin in the brain 20-30 years before the first sign of memory loss, so changing habits now can have a big impact later.
“The earlier you start the better. There is no magic anything that can prevent, reverse or cure Alzheimer’s Disease, but you are what you heat when it comes to brain health. It’s that simple. And everyone has control of their brain outcomes. You can absolutely make one little change today and have a much better likelihood of success in the future,” Isaacson says.