Diet’s Role in Preventing Dementia

Staying mentally and physically active has been shown to decrease the risk for developing Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia but what we eat may also play an important role in cognitive function as we age.

Studies have found that a hybrid blend of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) lowered the risk for Alzheimer’s significantly.  According to a recent report in the Miami Herald, early study of the MIND diet, which adapts a Mediterranean diet to more a Western palate, reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s by 53 per cent.

Canadian researchers in Toronto, Ontario have also designed a diet that includes foods which can help protect the brain from cognitive decline such as the antioxidants found in oils, nuts, seeds, leafy green vegetables and whole grains.  The Canadian Brain Health Food Guide recommends five servings of vegetables each day, fish or seafood three times a week and four serving of fruit a day.

Although the two diets vary slightly on the recommended daily intake of healthy foods, they agree on the foods to avoid.  Limiting saturated fats found in fried and processed foods, cookies, cake, red meat and butter to one serving a week and eating low-fat dairy is something both groups of researchers support.

More study into the specific nutrients the aging brain requires to help prevent dementia is still necessary but the take-away is that a healthy diet which reduces the risk for chronic health conditions is also good for the brain.

To download a free copy of the Brain Health Food Guide visit the Baycrest Health Sciences website by following this link.  To purchase the MIND Diet book by Maggie Moon, MS RDN visit or ask at your local bookstore or library.