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Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
Date:4/12/2010

Eating salads, nuts, tomatoes and poultry lowered the odds, researchers say

MONDAY, April 12 (HealthDay News) -- Eating a diet high in vegetables, fish, fruit, nuts and poultry, and low in red meat and butter may reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease, new research finds.

Researchers asked more than 2,100 New York City residents aged 65 and older about their dietary habits. Over the course of about four years, 253 developed Alzheimer's disease.

Those whose diets included the most salad dressing, nuts, fish, tomatoes, poultry, cruciferous vegetables (such as cauliflower and broccoli), dark and green leafy vegetables, and the least red meat, high-fat dairy, organ meat and butter had a 38 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer's than those whose diets included fewer fruits, vegetables and poultry and more red meat and high-fat dairy.

"Following this dietary pattern seems to protect from Alzheimer's disease," said senior study author Dr. Nikolaos Scarmeas, associate professor of neurology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. But he added that "this is an observational study, not a clinical trial," meaning that researchers cannot say with certainty that eating a certain way helps prevent the disease.

The study was published online April 12 in the Archives of Neurology, and will appear in the journal's June print issue.

While similar to the well-known Mediterranean diet, the diet that seemed to be beneficial in this study is not identical because researchers didn't want to restrict themselves to considering only one culinary tradition. The Mediterranean diet included nine food groups; this study included 30, Scarmeas said.

The foods in those 30 groups are those that impact a list of seven fatty acids and nutrients, which previous research has associated with Alzheimer's disease risk. The nutrient combination included: saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated f
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