Seven Revolutionary Tips to Improve Brain Health
New Dietary Guidelines for Alzheimer’s Prevention developed by the Physicians Committee and an international panel of brain researchers were released this summer during the International Conference on Nutrition and the Brain.
The nearly 550 health care professionals who attended the conference in Washington, D.C., which was jointly sponsored by the Physicians Committee and The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, were urged to put into practice the guidelines’ seven principles to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and promote brain health.
These preventive strategies are as follows:
- Minimize your intake of saturated fats and trans fats. Saturated fat is found primarily in dairy products, meats, and certain oils (coconut and palm oils). Trans fats are found in many snack pastries and fried foods and are listed on labels as “partially hydrogenated oils.”
- Vegetables, legumes (beans, peas, and lentils), fruits, and whole grains should be the primary staples of the diet.
- One ounce of nuts or seeds (one small handful) daily provides a healthful source of vitamin E.
- A reliable source of vitamin B12, such as fortified foods or a supplement providing at least the recommended daily allowance (2.4 mcg per day for adults), should be part of your daily diet.
- When selecting multiple vitamins, choose those without iron and copper and consume iron supplements only when directed by your physician.
- While aluminum’s role in Alzheimer’s disease remains a matter of investigation, it is prudent to avoid the use of cookware, antacids, baking powder, or other products that contribute dietary aluminum.
- Include aerobic exercise in your routine, equivalent to 40 minutes of brisk walking three times per week.
“For me, this was all new,” said a conference attendee and family practitioner in Maryland who confronts chronic diseases every day. “It was eye-opening and began to answer many questions I have had about diet and neurodegenerative diseases… as well as other diseases such as diabetes and coronary artery disease.”
In addition to the release of the guidelines, the International Conference on Nutrition and the Brain featured 16 presenting researchers from five countries discussing how nutrients and lifestyle behaviors affect common brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, migraines, and other conditions.
“We potentially have the capability to prevent a disease that is poised to affect 100 million people worldwide by 2050. Why wait?” said Physicians Committee president Neal Barnard, M.D.
Support for the Nutrition and the Brain conference was generously provided by Family and Nursing Care, the Greenbaum Foundation, Nourish Health with Food for Life (Mona Sigal, M.D.), the Pat Summitt Foundation, Saladmaster, Treeline Treenut Cheese, Vegetalista Vegan Food Cart (Portland, Ore.), Vitamix, and the Wellness Forum.