A study from the Columbia University Medical Center was published in the summer of 2013, of Archive of Neurology, outlining certain foods that have been found beneficial for the brain and are effective at warding off Alzheimer ’s disease.  The study is based on previous research that has found correlations between certain foods and this debilitating type of memory loss.

Yian Gu, Ph.D., and colleagues tracked 2148 healthy adults aged 65 and older over a four year period of time.  None showed signs of dementia at the start of the study, but after the four years, 253 had developed Alzheimer’s.  The researchers compared diet and lifestyle of the patients and concluded that those who did not get Alzheimer’s had a diet rich in seven different nutrients:  vitamin E, vitamin B12, saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, and foliate.  They got the crucial nutrients by consuming plenty of fish, oil and vinegar salad dressing, nuts, tomatoes, other fruits and green leafy vegetables.  They ate little red meat, organ meat, high-fat dairy foods and butter.

“It’s important to not only take in a lot of good foods like vegetables and fruit, but also not to take in a lot of bad foods like red meat, high-fat dairy and organ meat,” says Gu, the head researcher of the study.  Changing ones diet is relatively easy, and although more research needs to be done in this area, this observational study of peoples habits showed a strong link between the type of diets people consumed and the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.  The other benefits of sticking to a diet high in fish, vegetables, fruit, nuts and good fats is of course a healthy weight and more energy.

Unrelated to this new study there have previously been strong links between aluminum and Alzheimer’s.  Autopsies on Alzheimer’s patients show higher than normal aluminum contents of the brain tissue.  It’s a good idea to avoid cooking in aluminum pots, drinking from aluminum cans or aluminum coated juice boxes.  Also, watch out for deodorants that often contain aluminum as one of the main ingredients.  Anything we put on our skin gets absorbed into the body.

Vitamins and nutritional supplements are important, but the foods that we consume and our daily habits are the foundation for our health.

Barbro Brost D.C.
Clinic Director
The Brost Clinic, Wayzata

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