Dietary Pattern that Cuts the Risk of Alzheimer’s disease

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According to a new study published in the April 12 issue of the Archives of Neurology, individuals who consume a diet rich in nuts, fish, poultry, vegetables, fruits, and olive oil–based salad dressings but low in high-fat dairy products, red meat, organ meats, and butter have a reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Gu and her colleagues studied a cohort of 2,148 elderly subjects 65 years and older who were freed of dementia at the study entry.  All subjects were asked about their dietary patterns via questionnaire, and were evaluated every 1.5 years for an average of 4 years on standardized neurologic and neuropsychological measures.

During the follow-up of 4 years, 253 individuals developed Alzheimer’s disease. The investigator, however, found that one dietary pattern — characterized by higher intakes of salad dressing, nuts, fish, tomatoes, poultry, cruciferous vegetables, fruits, and dark and green leafy vegetables and a lower intake of high-fat dairy products, red meat, organ meat, and butter — was significantly associated with a reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

Compared with subjects who adhered to other dietary patterns, subjects who strictly adhered to this dietary pattern were 38% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

This dietary pattern is rich in ω-3 and ω-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, and folate but poor in saturated fatty acids and vitamin B12,

Before this study, other studies have also shown that fruits and vegetables and unsaturated fatty acids are associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

The study was supported by federal National Institute on Aging grants.

Arch Neurol. Published online April 12, 2010.

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