WASHINGTON—Alec Baldwin is teaming up with the Physicians Committee—a nonprofit of 12,000 doctors—in a new public service announcement about reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease with a diet rich in plant-based foods. Fresh off the set of Still Alice, the story of a woman succumbing to Alzheimer’s, Baldwin wants you to know that what you eat can make a difference in preserving cognitive function later in life.
“Five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, but the right foods may help you prevent it,” says Baldwin—a longtime Physicians Committee supporter—in the video. “Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans can help keep your brain strong and memory sharp. Let’s eat right to fight Alzheimer’s.”
Baldwin also explains that our dietary choices affect those around us: Nearly “16 million husbands, wives, children, and friends are caregivers” for people with Alzheimer’s. In the Academy Award-winning Still Alice, Baldwin’s character’s wife, played by Julianne Moore, is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's. The movie shows the toll Alzheimer’s takes on the patient, her husband, their children—played by Kate Bosworth, Kristen Stewart, and Hunter Parrish—and the community.
A diet that centers around plant-based foods can reduce Alzheimer’s risk by 35 percent, according to a recent study in Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association. The research favors a diet with daily servings of leafy greens, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and berries and limited exposure to or avoidance of red meat, butter, margarine, cheese, pastries, and fast or fried food.
The findings are similar to Dietary and Lifestyle Guidelines to Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, published last May in the Neurobiology of Aging by Neal Barnard, M.D., president of the Physicians Committee and an adjunct associate professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
“Alec Baldwin’s recommendation for a plant-based diet to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s comes at a critical time,” says Dr. Barnard. “A lifestyle intervention could prevent more than a third of Alzheimer’s disease, which will triple to 13.8 million cases over the next three decades.”
The PSA will air in New York City movie theaters starting as early as Friday, April 10, and will appear on television and radio stations throughout the country in late April. In a letter to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Dr. Barnard requests the mayor put the video and lifesaving message on the city’s website.
More than 1 million New Yorkers, statewide, spend 1.1 billion hours caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia each year. The cost for the unpaid care is $14 billion.
Watch the 15- and 30-second “Eat to Fight Alzheimer’s” videos and download resources to help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease at EatToFightAlzheimers.org.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research and medical training.