Can diet help prevent or treat Alzheimer’s?

Diet Help Prevent Or Treat Alzheimer’s

There are claims that several diets and supplements can help with Alzheimer’s. However, people should be aware that there is no proof that any specific diet or nutrient helps prevent or treat the disease, despite some research suggesting a link between cognitive performance and particular foods or nutrients.

Although no specific diet helps prevent or treat Alzheimer’s, doctors advise people to maintain a balanced and healthy diet. It entails consuming fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while avoiding meals heavy in salt, sugar, and saturated fat.

Research has indicated that the Mediterranean and Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diets have links to reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s.

Furthermore, the findings of another study imply that the ketogenic diet may be beneficial for improving daily function and quality of life in persons with Alzheimer’s. Nevertheless, unlike the Mediterranean and MIND diets, doctors are concerned about the long-term implications of the keto diet.

Can diet stave off or cure Alzheimer’s?

According to statistics, over 6 million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer’s, and this figure will rise to approximately 13 million by 2050. It is a progressive illness that impacts the areas of the brain responsible for thought, language, and memory.

Since Alzheimer’s medications only marginally slow the advancement of the disease, a doctor may also propose non-drug therapies, which include diet and nutrition. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) reports that numerous studies highlight the connection between diet and cognitive function.

Some evidence suggests that Mediterranean and MIND diets, in particular, may assist patients with Alzheimer’s. Although some research backs up the keto diet’s use, it can have potentially dangerous side effects.

Individuals with neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s, are less likely to consume nutritious diets and are more likely to be malnourished. Disease symptoms can cause people to lose their appetite, forget to eat, and have difficulty swallowing. The keto diet may make someone with these symptoms even more undernourished because it can decrease a person’s appetite.

It’s crucial to remember that dietary adjustments aren’t the only way to improve the health of Alzheimer’s patients, and they can also benefit from making other lifestyle modifications.

The Mediterranean Diet

The main components of the Mediterranean diet are fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains, legumes, and healthy fats like olive oil and nuts. It also contains limited amounts of poultry and meat. The diet also discourages the consumption of red meat and promotes herbs as a salt substitute. Studies have shown that the diet may help those with the condition or at risk of getting it.

A study published in 2021 examined the connection between Alzheimer’s and the Mediterranean diet. Participants with symptoms ranging from no cognitive deterioration to mild cognitive impairment participated in the study, which assessed how well people adhered to the meal plan.

The findings suggested that higher diet adherence was associated with better memory, reduced brain plaque buildup, and protection to some extent against brain shrinkage. While some of these findings might suggest that diet improves brain function, they also demonstrate that those with superior memories are more likely to adhere to a diet.

The MIND Diet

The MIND diet combines the Mediterranean diet with the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. Although the researchers developed the DASH diet for persons with high blood pressure, some studies have suggested that it may also benefit those with Alzheimer’s.

According to studies, adopting the MIND diet may lower your risk of getting Alzheimer’s. For instance, 2015 research of 923 individuals between the ages of 58 and 98 discovered that those who followed MIND-style diets had decreased incidences of Alzheimer’s.

The diet prioritizes plant-based foods and restricts animal products and foods high in saturated fat. It emphasizes berries and leafy green veggies in particular.

The Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet is low in carbohydrates and high in fat. Although there are several approaches to the diet, most protocols seek to limit the percentage of carbohydrates in a person’s daily calorie consumption to under 10%. The body switches to utilize fat for energy as a result, instead of glucose.

According to experts who advocate using the ketogenic diet to treat Alzheimer’s, it may lessen plaque buildup in the brain, the hallmark of the disease. Also, it lowers inflammation, which is a crucial component of Alzheimer’s pathology, the aberrant physiology that underlies the disease.

Despite these potential advantages, there are also drawbacks to the keto diet.

The long-term safety of the ketogenic diet is uncertain, in contrast to wholesome, well-balanced eating plans like the Mediterranean and MIND diets.

Potential side effects include atherosclerosis (artery hardening), impaired liver function, decreased bone density, kidney stones, and vitamin and mineral insufficiency. Also, it can make someone less hungry, which may be hazardous for those with Alzheimer’s as they are more prone to consume a diet that is low in nutrients.

Which Foods to Include in the Diet?

The Alzheimer’s Association advises following a balanced diet that includes:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Whole grains
  • Dairy products
  • Sources of lean protein

Which Foods to Avoid?

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, you should limit or avoid the foods:

  • High in salt
  • High in sugar
  • High in saturated fat and cholesterol

Supplements & Vitamins

Researchers have conducted several studies to investigate the effectiveness of dietary supplements in Alzheimer’s treatment. The NIA states that no vitamin or supplement has demonstrated efficacy in preventing the illness, despite early signs of a potential benefit.

Although certain supplements may be beneficial, there is little evidence to back up their usage. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and curcumin are among them.

When to Contact a Doctor or Dietician?

Changes in the brain occur years before the first signs of Alzheimer’s manifest. It implies that there is a period when adopting certain lifestyle habits may help to either delay or prevent Alzheimer’s.

Individuals worried about their risk of Alzheimer’s might want to see a doctor. They can assess a person’s risk factors and offer pertinent nutritional advice.


  1. Morris, M.C., Tangney, C.C., Wang, Y., Sacks, F.M., Bennett, D.A. and Aggarwal, N.T., 2015. MIND diet associated with reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s & Dementia, 11(9), pp.1007-1014.
  2. Rusek, M., Pluta, R., Ułamek-Kozioł, M. and Czuczwar, S.J., 2019. Ketogenic diet in Alzheimer’s disease. International journal of molecular sciences, 20(16), p.3892.
  3. Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures. Alzheimer’s Association. Accessed: 6th April, 2023.
  4. What Do We Know About Diet and Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease?. National Institute on Aging. Accessed: 6th April, 2023.
  5. Ballarini, T., van Lent, D.M., Brunner, J., Schröder, A., Wolfsgruber, S., Altenstein, S., Brosseron, F., Buerger, K., Dechent, P., Dobisch, L. and Düzel, E., 2021. Mediterranean diet, Alzheimer disease biomarkers, and brain atrophy in old age. Neurology, 96(24), pp.e2920-e2932.
  6. Van den Brink, A.C., Brouwer-Brolsma, E.M., Berendsen, A.A. and van de Rest, O., 2019. The Mediterranean, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), and Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diets are associated with less cognitive decline and a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease—a review. Advances in Nutrition, 10(6), pp.1040-1065.
  7. Morris, M.C., Tangney, C.C., Wang, Y., Sacks, F.M., Bennett, D.A. and Aggarwal, N.T., 2015. MIND diet associated with reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s & Dementia, 11(9), pp.1007-1014.
  8. What to know about diet and Alzheimer’s. Medical News Today. Published online: 25th Feb, 2022. Accessed: 6th April, 2023.
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