Power Foods for the Brain
Are you losing your car keys a little too often these days? Are you having memory lapses more frequently than before? Are you concerned that a serious memory problem—like Alzheimer’s disease—could be in your future?
If you are concerned, you are right. Alzheimer’s disease already affects 5 million Americans, a number that is rising day by day. Financially, the condition is a disaster. Residential care and medical costs for a person with dementia can easily reach $70,000 annually. But the personal costs are incalculable.
Watch Neal Barnard, M.D., discuss the new rules for preventing Alzheimer’s disease on The Dr. Oz Show.
New hope has arrived in recent years, as researchers have begun to tease apart the connections between foods and brain health. In 2003, researchers with the Chicago Health and Aging Project reported a groundbreaking discovery. Having carefully analyzed the diets of thousands of people and then tracked their health as the years went by, it turned out that one particular part of the diet—saturated fat, found in dairy products, meat, and certain oils—was strongly linked to the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. People who tended to steer clear of this kind of fat cut their risk of Alzheimer’s disease by two-thirds, compared to people eating larger amounts of it. Trans fats—found in snack pastries and fried foods—also increased risk. But foods rich in vitamin E reduced risk—by as much as 70 percent in some groups.
Other research reports have shown that foods that are overly rich in iron or copper can promote cognitive loss, while certain micronutrients—folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and others may help protect the memory.
Many other parts of our lives play a role, from our choice of cookware and our use of supplements to physical exercise and even our choice of intellectual stimulation.
In Power Foods for the Brain, Neal Barnard, M.D., presents the findings of the latest research on foods and the brain, showing how simple diet changes can make an enormous difference.
Dr. Barnard is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine, Board-Certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, D.C. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, his research revolutionized the treatment of type 2 diabetes. His new work aims to put the findings of research to work to prevent risks to brain health. He is the author of 15 books and host of three PBS television specials.