While specific recommendations on amounts of these nutrients have yet to be determined, filling your plate with antioxidant-rich whole foods (which benefit your whole body) is just plain smart on many counts. Look for dark-skinned and -leafed vegetables such as kale, spinach, broccoli and red bell pepper, and fruits (fresh or dried) such as red grapes, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and cherries. For instance, try a spinach salad tossed with dried cherries or raisins and some sunflower seeds for crunch!
Say Your B, C, E’s
There is some indication that vitamin E (either alone or in combination with vitamin C), vitamin B12 and folate may be important in lowering your risk of developing Alzheimer’s, says Udelson. Eating whole foods that contain these brain-healthy vitamins is ideal (although a good multivitamin can also serve as an insurance policy).
The Skinny on Alzheimer’s and Your Weight
Being overweight increases your risk of developing a laundry list of life-threatening conditions, but it also increases your risk of developing dementia (defined as impaired thinking and memory loss — sometimes, but not always, caused by Alzheimer’s) and Alzheimer’s disease. Here are some of the links researchers have found between excess weight and impaired brain function:
The news is particularly alarming for those carrying the most weight (people with a BMI of 30 and above): On MRI scans, researchers at UCLA and the University of Pittsburgh have noticed that the areas of the brain that shrunk the most were the frontal temporal lobes, where higher-order reasoning and judgment take place. The parts of the brain responsible for attention and decision making, for long-term memory and for smooth movements were also affected.
—by Dana Sullivan
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