Dr. Richard Isaacson wants you to know this before you read any further: “You can’t eat a magic blueberry and think that you’re going to prevent or cure Alzheimer’s,” says the Director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York Presbyterian (he has also worked with Maria Shriver on the cause). But here’s the good news: A lot of blueberries, mixed with some other foods and regular exercise, can do a brain really, really good — and maybe even work a bit of magic. We caught up with him to hear some of his advice. Here’s what he says you should be adding to your diet to ward off Alzheimer’s.
We’ve been trained to think negatively about fats, but not all of them are so bad for you. Omega 3 fatty acids found in some fish are anti-inflammatory and known to support healthy brain function tied to memory and mood. Dr. Isaacson recommends at least two servings of fatty fish — wild salmon, lake trout, mackerel, herring, sardines — every week.
Resveratrol, a compound found in wine, has been shown to slow the advancement of problems in Alzheimer’s patients. According the Dr. Isaacson, an acceptable serving is one glass a day for women and two for men.
They’re what Dr. Isaacson refers to as “brain berries.” Multiple studies have shown that the super fruit, which is loaded with healthful antioxidants, can delay cognitive problems. Strawberries have been linked to the same benefits.
Dr. Isaacson stands by his phrase “a mocha in the morning for your memory” because of the dark chocolate that’s in it. He likes to add Cocoa Via’s purified dark chocolate cocoa powder to his coffee. “It can help with memory, in addition to blood pressure control and insulin resistance,” he says.
This pantry must-have is another one of the good fats, Dr. Isaacson says. It’s considered a monounsaturated fat, and it helps to reduce inflammation in the body, which is key to brain health. Dr. Isaacson cautions that you pay attention to where your olive oil is from, though. Opt for cold-pressed, good quality stuff — not bottles in the bulk bin that may or may not be the real thing.
Not only are kale and spinach packed with fiber that keeps you fuller longer, they’re also full of antioxidants that boost brain health. Researchers have found that consuming at least one serving a day can slow cognitive decline.