|New Dietary Guidelines for Brain Health|
|July 29, 2013|
By Susan Levin, MS, RD, CSSD
Director of Nutrition Education PCRM
Portland VegFest & Health Conference Presenter
According to data used from the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of people with
Alzheimer’s disease will triple by 2050. It is imperative that health care professionals
and the public know diet could help change that devastating statistic. Although there
is no known treatment for the disease, evidence suggests that we can prevent many
cases of Alzheimer’s disease with simple lifestyle changes.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine put forth seven dietary principles
that can help reduce the risk of the disease.
As with all good dietary advice, the benefits don’t just support one aspect of health,
but rather support a holistic approach to thinking about health and wellbeing. These
recommendations could not only cut one’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease by half or more,
but they can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and some forms of cancer.
- Minimize your intake of saturated fats and trans fats. Saturated fat is found primarily
in dairy products, meats, and certain oils (coconut and palm oils). Trans fats are
found in many snack pastries and fried foods and are listed on labels as “partially
- Vegetables, legumes (beans, peas, and lentils), fruits, and whole grains should be
the primary staples of the diet.
- One ounce of nuts or seeds (one small handful) daily provides a healthful source of
- A reliable source of vitamin B12, such as fortified foods or a supplement providing at
least the recommended daily allowance (2.4 mcg per day for adults) should be part of
your daily diet.
- When selecting multiple vitamins, choose those without iron and copper, and
consume iron supplements only when directed by your physician.
- While aluminum’s role in Alzheimer’s disease remains a matter of investigation, it is
prudent to avoid the use of cookware, antacids, baking powder, or other products that
contribute dietary aluminum.
- Include aerobic exercise in your routine, equivalent to 40 minutes of brisk walking
three times per week.
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