Diet May Help Prevent Development of Alzheimer's

Diet high in polyunsaturated fatty acids and low in saturated fatty acids linked to lower risk
By Jeff Muise
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, April 12 (HealthDay News) -- A diet high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), vitamin E and folate, and low in saturated fatty acids (SFAs), may help prevent the development of Alzheimer's disease, according to a study published online April 12 in the Archives of Neurology.

Yian Gu, Ph.D., of Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues evaluated the dietary patterns of 2,148 dementia-free subjects, aged 65 and older, who were evaluated every 1.5 years using standard neurological and neuropsychological tools. They calculated the subjects' dietary patterns based on their ability to explain variation in seven nutrients potentially related to Alzheimer's disease (SFAs, monounsaturated fatty acids, ω-3 PUFAs, ω-6 PUFAs, vitamin E, vitamin B12 and folate).

During an average follow-up of 3.96 years, the researchers note that 253 of the subjects developed Alzheimer's disease. Reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's disease was strongly correlated with a dietary pattern that included higher intakes of fish, poultry, dark and green leafy vegetables, salad dressing, cruciferous vegetables, tomatoes, fruits, and nuts, and a lower intake of red meat, organ meat, high-fat dairy products and butter.

"In conclusion, we identified a dietary pattern that was strongly protective against the development of Alzheimer's disease. The results of the current study indicate that higher consumption of certain foods (salad dressing, nuts, fish, tomatoes, poultry, cruciferous vegetables, fruits, dark and green leafy vegetables) and lower of others (high-fat dairy, red meat, organ meat, and butter) may be associated with a decreased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease via a more favorable profile of nutrients (i.e., lower ingestion of SFA and higher ingestion of PUFA, vitamin E, and folate)," the authors write.

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