November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, so remember to eat plenty of vegetables and other healthy vegan foods to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease as well as cancer, strokes, heart disease, and other life-threatening illnesses. Research shows that people who avoid “bad fats”—the kind found in meat, eggs, and dairy products—cut their risk of Alzheimer’s disease by about two-thirds. A recent study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease suggests that Alzheimer’s disease is becoming more prevalent in developing countries where people are now eating more animal fat.
But “bad fats” are only part of the problem. Meat, including lobster, shrimp, and some other kinds of “seafood,” is often high in metals—iron, copper, and zinc—which have been found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. While we need traces of these metals for our health and we get them from plant foods, meats tend to overdose us, which can “trigger” Alzheimer’s disease. But eating healthy plant foods rather than animal-based ones helps boost our intake of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other brain-beneficial substances that can lower our risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
According to Dr. Neal Barnard, the president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and author of Power Foods for the Brain, eating plant-based foods can reduce one’s risk of Alzheimer’s by as much as 70 percent. Green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, nuts and seeds, and beans and chickpeas are especially beneficial for brain health, as are blueberries and grapes, which contain powerful antioxidants that are known improve learning and memory.
They’re good for your heart and other organs, too. Not to mention your taste buds. Either way, have an extra helping of sweet potato casserole or roasted pumpkin seeds this Thanksgiving.
And if you’re worried that a loved one is at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, urge him or her to eat more wholesome vegan foods. PETA offers free vegan recipes and tips on how to go vegan for anyone who is trying to eat healthier, help animals, and protect the environment.
Related: Physician For Responsible Medicine’s Founder Dr. Neil Barnard has seen great reductions in the rates of Alzheimer’s with a plant-based diet. (See recent HappyCow interview here)