Anti-Alzheimer Diet

New dietary guidelines http for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease have been developed by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) in the US.

PCRM is a nonprofit organization that advocates preventive medicine, especially good nutrition; conducts clinical research; and advocates for higher ethical standards in research, according to their Web site. The new guidelines were released last week at the International Conference on Nutrition and the Brain held in Washington, DC, sponsored jointly by PCRM and George Washington University School of Medicine.

PCRM president and lead author of the guidelines, Neal Barnard, MD, said, “The current generation of clinicians is in a battle over food — especially Alzheimer’s-promoting foods, such as those which contain saturated and trans fats. We potentially have the capabilities to prevent a disease that is poised to affect 100 million people worldwide by 2050. Why wait?”

The guidelines are very similar to the habits that prevent heart disease in that they recommends avoiding saturated and trans fats, grounding the diet in plant-based foods, and adding sources of vitamin E and B. “Combining this diet with physical exercise and avoiding excess metals, such as iron and copper in multivitamins, can maximize protection for the brain,” Dr. Barnard claimed.

The 547 healthcare providers who attended the conference sampled the dietary recommendations themselves by eating meals such as roasted broccoli salad, spiced chickpea curry, baby bok choy, and blueberry sorbet.

Several Alzheimer’s experts asked to comment on the guidelines all had similar opinions: that the recommendations were for a healthy diet and exercise, which was always good general advice, but that high levels of evidence that following these guidelines would definitively reduce Alzheimer’s risk are lacking.

The 7 Dietary Principles to Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk

1. Minimize saturated fats and trans fats.
2. Vegetables, legumes (beans, peas, and lentils), fruits, and whole grains should be the primary staples of the diet.
3. One ounce of nuts or seeds (one small handful) daily provides a healthful source of vitamin E.
4. A reliable source of vitamin B12, such as fortified foods or a supplement providing at least 2.4 μg per day for adults) should be part of the daily diet.
5. Choose multivitamins without iron and copper, and consume iron supplements only when directed by your physician.
6. Avoid the use of cookware, antacids, baking powder, or other products that contribute dietary aluminium.
7. Engage in aerobic exercise equivalent to 40 minutes of brisk walking 3 times per week.

 Actually, I would avoid item 5 – there is growing evidence that vitamin supplementation can be harmful.  More later on that topic.

Some information taken from Medscape News.

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