How to prevent Alzheimer’s disease

Q: How can I prevent getting Alzheimer’s Disease? My grandparents on my mom’s side have it and I just want to dramatically decrease my chances of getting it.

A: There is plenty of evidence that life style is linked to or associated with the risks of getting Alzheimer’s . A short list of features reducing the risks looks like this:
1. Being active, socially, physically and intellectually, as early in life as possible.
2. Eating right for example, Mediterranean style.

By the way, this recommendation concerns not only Alzheimer’s prevention but general neuroprotection and metabolic correction.

Recently, researchers figure out quite interesting details. The interviewed a large cohort of ageing people with a simple questionnaire and years later, checked out, which 25% of them got the biggest chance o f the disease and which 25% had the slimmest chance. They simple asked how many times a day or a week people habitually had certain foods. Some foods didn’t seem to influence the outcome, but some did.

Here is a short summary. The foods most successfully decreasing the chances of the disease, habitually eaten as many times a week or day as indicated:

Green leafy vegetables    >6 times a week
Other vegetables        >1 times a day
Nuts          >5 times a week
Berries         >2 times a week
Beans          >3 times a week
Whole grains       >3 times a day
Fish          >1 times a week
Poultry         >2 times a week
Olive oil         if it is the main oil for cooking/dressing
Wine          1 time a day

The foods most seriously increasing the chances:

Red meats         >4 times a week
Butter and stick margarine   >1 Tbs a day
Cheese          >1 time a week
Pastries and sweets      >5 times a week
Fried or fast food      >1 time a week

Source: Morris, M. C., Tangney, C. C., Wang, Y., Sacks, F. M., Bennett, D. A., & Aggarwal, N. T. (2015). MIND diet associated with reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s & Dementia, ahead of print

As to physical activities, it is advised to work out 30 minutes daily or more. Best results, however, were reported for 1 hour of moderate activity (walking/strolling, gardening, cooking, shopping, etc.) plus 20-30 minutes of more intense but not exhausting activities, of which strength/resistant training  is now recognised as the most effective.

It is important to include new activities requiring memorization of movement patterns like dance, Tai Chi and the like as well as activities emphasizing mindfulness.