Good Foods to Keep the Brain Sharp
November 2012
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Diet Plays a Role in Memory Problems

healthy_adultsNew research reveals that diet may make a difference in reducing the risk of developing the most common form of dementia, known as Alzheimer’s disease. A study published by the American Academy of Neurology suggests that eating foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish, chicken, salad dressing and nuts, may be related to lower blood levels of a problematic protein called beta-amyloid associated with Alzheimer’s and memory problems.

For the study, 1,219 people older than 65 and free of dementia provided information about their diets for an average of 1.2 years before their blood was tested for beta-amyloid. Researchers looked specifically at 10 nutrients, including saturated fatty acids; omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids; mono-unsaturated fatty acids; vitamins E, C, B12 and D; beta-carotene; and folate. The scientists found that higher consumption of omega-3 fatty acids corresponded to lower blood beta-amyloid levels.

Particularly, those consuming just one gram more than other study subjects’ average daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids experienced a 20 to 30 percent decrease in beta-amyloid levels in the blood. One gram of omega-3s can be obtained by eating half a salmon fillet, once a week. Other foods that contain healthy omega-3s are flax seeds, almonds, walnuts and walnut oil, tuna and sardines and in small amounts, vegetables like Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach and salad greens.