BusinessWeek (April 12, 2010): Alzheimer's Risk Cut By a Third Eating Veggies, Fish, Poultry

Publication Date: 
Mon, 04/12/2010

More than 2,000 Manhattan residents age 65 and older have given researchers one more reason to tell us to eat more greens.

Those who adhered most to diets in dark, leafy vegetables, poultry, fish and nuts and low in red meat, butter and fatty dairy products had a 38 percent lower risk of getting Alzheimer's disease than those who followed that plan the least, according to a report today in the Archives of Neurology.

These foods may protect blood vessels in the brain, preventing tiny strokes that may contribute to Alzheimer's, said Nikolaos Scarmeas, an associate professor of neurology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York and author of this study. There's no cure for Alzheimer's, which causes memory loss that can devolve into severe cognitive decline. About 30 million people worldwide have the disease, according to London-based Alzheimer's Disease International.

"We know that these foods are definitely helpful for other conditions and diseases, and now we have this hint that they may be helpful for brain diseases," Scarmeas said in a telephone interview. "It makes sense to follow this diet."

The researchers tracked subjects for four years, checking in every 1.5 years to document dietary patterns and neurological status. No participant had dementia when the study began, and 253 developed Alzheimer's disease throughout the four years.