It’s possible to reduce our risk of Alzheimer’s by up to 80 percent. That’s the latest from Dr. Neal Barnard, the president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Here are his simple recommendations for warding off Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other brain diseases.

  • First: Minimize your intake of bad-for-you trans fats and saturated fats which increase blood cholesterol, and boost production of brain plaque, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease. In a study, people who consumed the most saturated fat had triple the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
  • Next, eat a diet heavy in fruits, vegetables, beans, peas, and whole grains. They’re packed with brain-protecting vitamins and minerals, like folate and vitamin B6. And can reduce your risk of cognitive decline, as well as obesity and type 2 diabetes, which are linked to Alzheimer's.
  • Another anti-Alzheimer’s tip: Get 5 milligrams of vitamin E a day from food. The antioxidant has been shown to lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease. But Dr. Barnard says that getting “E” from supplements doesn’t provide the same benefits, and may even raise our risk for cancer. The best sources for vitamin E are nuts or seeds, mangoes, papayas, avocadoes, tomatoes, red bell peppers, and spinach.
  • How else can you reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s? Don’t cook with aluminum pots and pans. That’s because heat sends particles of aluminum into our food and studies show the metal may contribute to cognitive problems. Instead, use cookware made from cast iron, or stainless steel.
  • The final way to avoid Alzheimer’s: Take a brisk, 40-minute walk every other day. Because research shows that regular aerobic exercise can cut your risk of dementia almost in half.