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Times of India
14 April 2010
Chicago, USA

A diet rich in olive oil, nuts, fish, poultry and certain fruits and vegetables may have a powerful effect at staving off Alzheimer’s disease, suggests a new study.

People who ate nutrients specifically selected for brain health had a 40% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease compared with others, Yian Gu, an Alzheimer’s disease researcher at Columbia University in New York and colleagues found. “Diet is probably the easiest way to modify disease risk,” said Gu, whose study appears in Archives of Neurology.

She said because there are no cures for Alzheimer’s, prevention is key, especially as the population ages.

Gu’s team studied groups of foods high in nutrients that have been shown to be associated with Alzheimer’s disease risk. Some, such as saturated fatty acids in red meat and butter, need to be avoided. Others, such as omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin E, vitamin B12 and folate, benefit the brain.

Those least likely to develop the disease ate more olive oil-based salad dressing, nuts, fish, tomatoes, poultry, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, fruits, and green leafy vegetables and ate less red meat, organ meat or high-fat dairy products. “People who adhered mostly to this dietary pattern compared to others have about a 40% reduction in the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease,” Gu said.

She said the diet likely works in two ways. Because it is rich in hearthealthy foods, it may be protecting the brain from strokes that could make it more vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease. But it also may be that the nutrients – such as omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and folate – protect the brain.

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