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This Is the #1 Diet to Follow to Prevent Alzheimer's, Says New Study

New research further supports the existing theory that the Mediterranean diet supports cognitive health.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia, affecting nearly 6 million Americans and its prevalence is on the rise. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts that the number of people living with Alzheimer's will increase to 14 million by the year 2060.

While there is currently no cure for the cognitive disease, there are several ways you can stop or slow its progression via prescription drugs and even alternative treatments including dietary supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids. Existing and recent research also suggests that Alzheimer's could potentially be prevented through dietary choices made earlier on in life. (Related: 100 Easiest Recipes You Can Make)

One new study published in the journal Neurology reveals that eating a  Mediterranean-style diet could help to protect your brain from developing Alzheimer's disease. More specifically, researchers noted that consuming a diet rich in unsaturated fats (so think avocados and salmon) as well as fresh fruits and vegetables can help clear the brain of an abnormal buildup of proteins that deposit plaque around brain cells. This specific protein buildup is associated with memory loss and dementia.

mediterranean platter

A Mediterranean-style diet also calls for decreased consumption of dairy and red meat. In the study, those who were most diligent in following the brain-healthy diet not only performed better on cognitive tests but also demonstrated less brain volume shrinkage and protein biomarkers associated with the disease. 

This isn't the first study that suggests the Mediterranean diet could play a helping hand in reducing your risk of Alzheimer's disease. In fact, at the beginning of one 2018 study, researchers found that adults following a Western diet—aka one that consists of excess red meat, saturated fats, and added sugars—already had more beta-amyloid deposits (the protein that can buildup and form plaque in the brain) than those who consumed a Mediterranean-style diet.

The Western diet group also showed lower energy use, which is a sign of brain activity that may suggest the early onset of dementia. Researchers then conducted a follow-up brain scan two years later on both groups and found that the Western diet group showed even greater beta-amyloid deposits and reductions of energy use compared to those who followed the Mediterranean diet.

Willing to give the Mediterranean diet a try? Check out 15 Best Mediterranean Diet Recipes for inspiration!

Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the former news editor of Eat This, Not That! Read more about Cheyenne