Help Save Your Memory

Healthy eating lowers your risk of diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease, but it’s not yet clear if that’s true for Alzheimer’s disease as well.

“I can’t write a prescription for broccoli and say this will help—yet,” says Sam Gandy MD, PhD, the associate director of the Mount Sinai Medical Center Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, in New York City.

(The National Institutes of Health has said there is insufficient evidence that food, diet, or lifestyle will prevent Alzheimer’s disease.)

It’s not a lost cause though. Here are 9 foods that researchers think will keep your whole body—including your brain—healthy.

“The data support eating foods that are high in vitamin E and this includes healthy vegetable oil-based salad dressings, seeds and nuts, peanut butter, and whole grains,” says Martha Clare Morris, ScD, director of the section on nutrition and nutritional epidemiology in the Department of Internal Medicine at Rush University, in Chicago.

The benefit has been seen with vitamin-E rich foods, but not supplements, she says.

A potent antioxidant, vitamin E may help protect neurons or nerve cells. In Alzheimer’s disease, neurons in certain parts of the brain start to die, which jump-starts the cascade of events leading to cognitive deterioration.

Salmon, mackerel, tuna, and other fish are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

“In the brain, DHA seems to be very important for the normal functioning of neurons,” Morris says.

Another plus: Eating more fish often means eating less red meat and other forms of protein that are high in artery-clogging saturated fats.