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There is currently no way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Many agencies and people research ways to slow, delay, or prevent AD, including:

  • researchers
  • pharmaceutical companies
  • foundations
  • nonprofit organizations

Researchers are looking into AD treatments they think may help, including:

  • cognitive training
  • physical exercise
  • blood pressure management in those with hypertension
  • diabetes and depression treatment
  • social interaction
  • sleep interventions
  • vitamins like B12, D, and folic acid

There are many steps you can try taking that may lower your chance of AD. Consult your doctor before making any major lifestyle changes.

Eat a nutritious diet

Some evidence suggests a Mediterranean diet may decrease your chance of developing AD. A small 2018 study found that people who ate a Mediterranean diet had fewer biomarkers of progressive AD over the course of 3 years.

A Mediterranean diet includes little red meat and emphasizes:

  • whole grains
  • fruits and vegetables
  • fish and shellfish
  • nuts
  • olive oil
  • other healthy fats

Other studies suggest that antioxidants may affect age-related changes in the brain. A 2022 research review found that berry supplements or foods helped with global cognitive performance, executive functioning, learning, and memory in older adults. Among the berries people ate were:

  • blueberries
  • blackberries
  • raspberries
  • strawberries
  • cranberries

Other research examined curcumin, the main ingredient of turmeric, the yellowish spice used in curry. It’s a powerful antioxidant. Curcumin seemed to suppress the buildup of harmful amyloid plaques in the brains of rodents. Amyloid plaques are one aspect of the progression of AD.

Keep up your mental exercise

An active brain may reduce your chance of AD. Activities that help keep the brain active include:

  • listening to the radio
  • reading newspapers
  • playing puzzle games
  • visiting museums

Engaging in mental exercises seems to create or contribute to your “cognitive reserve.” In other words, you develop additional neurons and pathways in your brain. Why is this important?

Usually, your brain has one road to transport information from point A to point B. If there’s a roadblock or a dead end, the information won’t make it. People who develop new ways of thinking through mental exercises create alternative routes, or new neurons, in their brains.

To exercise your brain, try the following activities:

  • Do crossword puzzles.
  • Take up bridge.
  • Learn a new language.

Increase your social engagement

Keeping up your engagement with others may help prevent AD or reduce your chance of it. A 2018 study involving 7511 adults followed over the course of 9 years found that people with high or increased social engagement had lower chances of dementia.

Social activities help exercise your brain by engaging mental skills. These include active listening, verbal communication, and memory.

Aerobic exercise daily

When older adults with AD engage in aerobic exercise, it may improve their symptoms.

In a small 2017 study, researchers followed 68 people with probable AD for 6 months. They found that aerobic exercise linked with gains in how they performed certain functions. For example, those who engaged in aerobic exercise had greater gains than those whose exercise was nonaerobic stretching and toning.

Quit or reduce smoking

Smoking may increase your chance of AD and dementia. There is an association between smoking and changes like cognitive decline and increased frailty. If you still smoke, try to quit. Talk with your doctor about methods that could work for you.

Lower homocysteine

Homocysteine is an amino acid that’s a building block of protein. It naturally circulates in the blood. An international consensus statement from experts indicated that higher than average blood levels of homocysteine is a risk factor for:

  • AD
  • vascular dementia
  • cognitive impairment

Foods high in folate (folic acid) and other B vitamins, such as B6 and B12, seem to lower homocysteine levels. Whether increasing these B vitamins in one’s diet might offer a protective effect for AD is unknown right now.

Some good food sources of folate include:

  • romaine lettuce
  • spinach
  • asparagus
  • broccoli
  • mustard greens
  • peanuts
  • banana
  • tomato juice
  • papaya

Food sources of B6 include:

  • chickpeas
  • poultry
  • banana
  • spinach
  • salmon
  • fortified cereals

Food sources of B12include:

  • fish
  • red meat
  • fortified nutritional yeast and cereal
  • poultry
  • eggs

Here are some questions people often ask about AD.

What triggers Alzheimer’s?

Researchers do not know yet what causes AD or triggers the onset of symptoms. But AD tends to occur more often in people with a family history of AD, who are more than 65 years old, or who have cardiovascular disease.

Can Alzheimer’s be prevented if caught early?

Early diagnosis cannot reverse changes brought on by AD. However, early diagnosis may delay or prevent onset of dementia by offering the chance to change risk factors for the condition.

Who is more likely to get Alzheimer’s?

You may be more likely to develop AD if there is a family history of the condition. AD is most common in those older than 65. Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity may also increase your chance of AD.

Researchers don’t yet know how to prevent AD. There are many things you can do to lower your chance of developing the disease.

Staying mentally and physically active, eating a nutritious diet, and keeping an active social life all may help lower your chance of cognitive decline, including AD. These are all good ways to stay healthy in general. Be sure to talk with your doctor about any new lifestyle changes that you plan.