The secret to reducing Alzheimer's-causing proteins

It might not be much of a secret because a healthy diet and regular exercise are beneficial to your health, especially when it comes to reducing your risk of obesity and associated diseases.

However, a new study suggests these lifestyle factors have the potential to reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, the study says that if you have mild memory problems, follow a Mediterranean diet, engage in regular physical activity and record a normal body mass index you are less likely to develop a build-up of beta-amyloid and tau proteins on the brain.

This research comes just days after Starts at 60 hailed the benefits of the Mediterranean diet in the fight against Alzheimer’s, and further highlights that when it comes to fighting disease your lifestyle plays an important part.

Read more: The diet that is good for your brain

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Beta-amyloid and tau proteins are said to be hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. The former clumps together and forms a plaque between nerve cells that impair signalling in the brain, while the latter can damage nerve cells with its tangling characteristics.

“The study reinforces the importance of living a healthy life to prevent Alzheimer’s, even before the development of clinically significant dementia,” says Dr David Merrill, who led the research.

What is the Mediterranean diet?

The Mediterranean diet is traditionally a southern European approach to eating. It includes:

  • Lots of plant foods
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  • Fresh fruit as dessert
  • High consumption of beans, nuts, cereals (in the form of wheat, oats, barley, corn or brown rice) and seeds
  • Olive oil as the main source of dietary fat
  • Cheese and yoghurt as the main dairy foods
  • Moderate amounts of fish and poultry
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  • No more than about four eggs each week
  • Small amounts of red meat each week
  • Low to moderate amounts of wine
  • 25-35 per cent of your calorie intake consists of fat
  • Saturated fat makes up no more than 8 per cent of your overall calorie intake.
  • Do you worry about your likelihood of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease as you get older? What steps do you take to keep your brain healthy?