Anti-inflammatory diets like the Mediterranean and MIND diets may help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. They may also reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s in people who don’t have the disease.

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Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. We can’t predict exactly who will develop Alzheimer’s disease, but several factors may increase or decrease the risk. Some of these factors you can’t control, such as age and genetics.

Diet is a risk factor that you may have more control over. Certain eating patterns may lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. For people living with the disease, these eating patterns may slow the progression.

Diet also helps manage heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension — conditions associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Here’s what we know about how diet may play a role in preventing or slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

People with Alzheimer’s disease have tiny protein pieces called beta-amyloids in their brains. As they build up, they can form clumps, which blocks regular communication in the brain.

Researchers have found a few ways that diet may lower the amount of beta-amyloid in the brain.

Inflammation causes beta-amyloid levels to rise. Anti-inflammatory eating patterns may help reduce the levels of beta-amyloid in the brain.

An anti-inflammatory diet may also help to manage other conditions associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Experts estimate that one-third of Alzheimer’s cases are linked to heart disease. Inflammation leads to hardening and thickening of the arteries, reducing oxygen and blood flow to the brain.

Compared to those without type 2 diabetes, people with type 2 diabetes have a 60% greater risk of developing dementia. Eating patterns to improve blood sugar levels can also help to protect the brain.

Lots of research has explored which foods and eating patterns might be most beneficial for people with Alzheimer’s disease. For example, some early research has examined whether a ketogenic diet might be helpful, but more data is needed before experts can recommend it.

So far, there is good evidence for the Mediterranean diet and the MIND diet.

Mediterranean diet

Research links a Mediterranean eating pattern to a reduced risk of many chronic diseases. It is high in anti-inflammatory foods, including healthy fats and antioxidants.

Several studies have found an association between a Mediterranean diet and a slower progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

MIND diet

The Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet combines elements of both the Mediterranean and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diets. Research had previously suggested that the Mediterranean and DASH diets were good for brain health.

Researchers looked more closely at what foods might be most protective against Alzheimer’s disease and developed the MIND diet.

Based on research, the MIND diet recommends that people base their diet around several specific foods. These include:

These are the foods most associated with a reduced rate of Alzheimer’s disease and slowed progression of the condition.

Researchers have also found that some foods are linked to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, including:

These foods are sources of saturated fat and sugar, which may increase inflammation in the brain and body. As part of a MIND diet, you should limit or avoid these foods.

Alzheimer’s disease is a complex condition with several risk factors. Dietary patterns may be just one part of reducing your risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Strong evidence exists to support the Mediterranean and MIND diets as part of Alzheimer’s prevention.

While results have been mixed, depending on the exact population studied, one study showed a 40–54% reduction in the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease for people who closely followed a Mediterranean diet.

People who most closely followed a MIND eating pattern had a 53% reduced rate of developing Alzheimer’s. Even people who did a moderate job of following the MIND diet benefited, reducing their risk by 35%.

What is the number one food that fights dementia?

There’s no single or “best” food to fight dementia. Eating patterns that include several anti-inflammatory foods may help to prevent or slow dementia. These include leafy greens, nuts, berries, whole grains, beans, and olive oil.

What is the one fruit that may prevent dementia?

Researchers involved in developing the MIND diet found that berries were most protective for the brain. Several studies have suggested that berries are the most beneficial fruit for brain health. Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries are rich in antioxidants.

What is a soft diet for people with dementia?

A soft diet includes a variety of soft foods. This can be a safer way to eat and reduce the risk of choking for some people with dementia. Soft foods are easier to chew and swallow for people with swallowing difficulties.

Examples of soft foods include cooked vegetables, soft fruit without peels, ground meats, fish, yogurt, soups, and oatmeal.

Alzheimer’s disease is a complex condition with multiple risk factors. Diet is one modifiable risk factor. Several studies have shown that the Mediterranean and MIND diets may help slow the progression or reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

These eating patterns include plenty of anti-inflammatory foods. They’re also associated with lower beta-amyloid levels in the brain and may help to manage other conditions that increase Alzheimer’s disease risk.