By the time that they reach age 85, almost half of all Americans suffer from Alzheimer's disease. The statistics are frightening - but the research is hopeful. By eating the right foods, you can reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease and even reverse memory problems by starting now, says Dr. Mehmet Oz, pointing to recent studies. To reveal what to eat - and what to avoid, Dr. Oz invited Dr. Neal Barnard to his March 8 show.
Author of "Power Foods for the Brain: An Effective 3-Step Plan to Protect Your Mind and Strengthen Your Memory" (click here to get it now), Dr. Barnard cautions against "bad fats," from trans fats (such as those found in doughnuts and other snacks) to saturated fats (such as dairy foods like ice cream and cheese). When you choose your menus, focus on protective foods from these key food groups:
- Nuts and seeds: High in vitamin E, these treats help reduce your risk. Just one ounce daily does the trick. My tip: Use nuts for snacks by getting Blue Diamond Almonds 100 Calories Per Bag Grab and Go Bags (click here to learn more).
- Grapes and blueberries contain anthocyanins, which improve recall and learning. My tip: When they're not in season, try Traverse Bay Fruit Co. Dried Blueberries, which are fabulous mixed in plain yogurt or oatmeal.
- Want something sweet? Bake a sweet potato, which is high in beta-carotene.
- Go green with green leafy veggies for iron and folate.
- Chickpeas and beans contain protein, calcium, vitamin B6 and folate, yet they are free of saturated fat and trans fat. My tip: Heat Libby's Organic Garbanzo Beans and serve over steamed brown rice sprinkled with Bragg Organic Seasoning (click here to learn more).
- To ensure that you get enough vitamin B12, which is critical for your brain cells, Dr. Barnard recommends supplements. My tip: Have problems swallowing large pills? Try Nature's Bounty Sublingual Vitamin B-12, which dissolves under your tongue.
- Bonus points for vegans and vegetarians: Studies show that they live longer and stay free of memory problems, says Dr. Barnard.
- Your brain needs exercise as well as your body. Walk, do brain-training exercises and then give those brain cells some rest by getting enough sleep. My tip: Have no time for long crossword puzzles? Then try "Brainfit: 10 Minutes a Day for a Sharper Mind and Memory" (click here to learn more).