Many studies suggest that there are six simple diet and lifestyle actions you can take today to reduce
your risk of memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease later in life. A few of these studies have been
supported by randomized controlled trials.
1. Consume more Fish and Seeds
Supplements of omega 3 fish oil also found in flaxseed oil or chia seeds (vegan friendly), is known as DHA. DHA is shown to improve memory in adults who do not dot consume fish and prevents memory loss in the early stages of memory decline.
Fish is also rich in vitamins B12, D and choline which are all foods required for optimal brain function.
So how often should you eat fish? 1 serving of fish per week is shown to halve the risk of Alzheimer's disease. It is recommended to consume fish 3-4x per week with at least two servings of oily fish (salmon, mackerel, herrings, kippers, sardines or tuna). Eat nuts and seeds on a daily basis in breakfast, as snacks or in a salad. Preferably raw.
-Some vegan supplements to consider to up DHA include flaxseed oil, Udo's oil, linseed oil and walnut oil.
2. Level up on your Antioxidants
Increasing your intake of vegetables and fruit in particular vegetables can lower the risk of cognitive decline.
What vegetables to focus on, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, spinach and mushrooms. What fruits to focus on blueberries and strawberries. The flavonoids and polyphenols found in vegetables can also be found in dark chocolate, red wine and green tea. So how many servings of fruits and vegetables should you eat each day? The most protective amount is shown to be at least 6 serving of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables (500g) every day.
Combining both Vitamin C and E in a supplement has demonstrated to halve the risk of Alzheimer's disease.
3. Reduce Sugar & Refined Foods – Aim for a Low GL Diet
Avoiding sugar as much as possible and consuming more slow-release whole carbohydrate foods such as whole grain bread, pasta and oat-based foods can help keep your blood sugar down. Meaning you make less insulin, which aids in preserving your memory.
Eating carbohydrate meals with protein, for example, brown rice and fish or porridge with seeds reduces glycemic load (GL) of a meal. These meals are consistent with a Mediterranean diet which can reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease.
- Please see "Mediterranean diet information sheet.
4. Supplement with B Vitamins
A key predictor of risk associated with developing Alzheimer's disease is regularly checking homocysteine levels. Lowering your homocysteine levels (if above 10mcmol/L) with high dose B6 (20mg), folic acid (800mcg) and B12 (500mcg) these supplements have shown to greatly reduce the rate of brain shrinkage and memory loss and can quarter your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
- Always talk to your health care provider about supplementing with high dose nutrients.
B12 absorptions worsen with age and are inhibited by drugs such as metformin and antacid 'proton-pump inhibitor' (PPI) medication. If on these medications check your homocysteine levels regularly with your doctor.
Supplementing daily with a multivitamin containing B complex can reduce your risk of deficiency regarding these nutrients.
5. Green Tea is Better than Coffee
Evidence regarding coffee consumption is inconsistent. Drinking lots of coffee can raise homocysteine levels and promotes excretion of protective B vitamins and other nutrients. An example of this is 2 cups of coffee raises homocysteine levels by 11% within 4 hours.
Limiting coffee to one per day and increasing consumption of ordinary tea, herbal or better yet drinking green tea instead of coffee can lower risk of cognitive impairment and improve cognition.
6. Keep Physically, Mentally and Socially Active
Remember the old saying if you don't use it, you lose it.
Keeping mentally active through learning new things and socially interacting with friends and family can reduce the risk of cognitive decline as these things stimulate your brain function.
Regarding exercising and keeping your brain healthy focus on mind-body exercises such as tai chi, yoga and exercising outdoors - to increase vitamin D levels. These activities aid in reducing stress which is another step in the right direction when talking about Alzheimer's prevention.
Cognitive Function Test
The Cognitive Function Test is a free online screening test that checks four key types of cognitive
ability that decline in dementia and Alzheimer’s.
If your score isn’t great you’ll get a letter to take to your GP recommending homocysteine testing. If
your homocysteine level is above 10mcmol/L you’ll be advised to supplement B vitamins.
Homocysteine testing can be carried out by your doctor. You can also do it privately through many
laboratories. Speak with your healthcare practitioner for more information. - Do this test every year from the age of 50.
Do you still have questions?
Please message for references.
The contents of this information sheet are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a
substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your
physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical