- Atrophy (shrinking) of certain parts of the brain
- Production of free radicals
- Mitochondrial dysfunction.
- Eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables
- Choosing healthy whole grains
- Opting for lean protein sources, such as legumes and pulses
- Following a predominantly plant-based diet that is rich in fibre
- Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
- Foods with a high saturated fat and cholesterol content, like fatty meats and fried foods
- Sugar and refined grain products
- Curcuminoids – found in turmeric (but generally not well absorbed in dietary forms)
- Rosmarinic acid – found in rosemary and in perilla oil
- Resveratrol – found in grape skins and the skins of other (typically red) fruit, as well as in peanuts
- Acetyl-L-carnitine – found predominantly in animal products, but also in asparagus and whole wheat
- Omega-3 (ω-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids – found in chia, algal oil, flaxseed and in some fatty fish and fish oil supplements
- Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) – found predominantly in green tea
- Theanine – found in black tea and in green tea
- Caffeine – found in tea, coffee and in some herbs.
Vitamins E, C and D have also been associated with neuroprotective activity and are essential for al-round good health. Some herbal remedies, such as pycnogenol and ginseng, have also been investigated for their potential to help delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, with studies showing significant promise for these natural interventions. There is no magic pill for preventing or curing Alzheimer’s disease, but we can take steps to address a number of risk factors, including stopping smoking, getting regular exercise, eating well and doing what we can to minimise the risk of head injury and concussion.
For more information about World Alzheimer’s Day, and for support and advice, visit http://www.alz.co.uk/world-alzheimers-day
References Mi, W., van Wijk, N., Cansev, M., et al. (2013). Nutritional approaches in the risk reduction and management of Alzheimer's disease. Nutrition, Sep;29(9):1080-9. Petraglia, A.L., Winkler, E.A., & Bailes, J.E. (2011). Stuck at the bench: Potential natural neuroprotective compounds for concussion. Surgical Neurology International, 2, 146.