Alzheimer's disease often begins with what appears to be simple forgetfulness, but it wreaks much more havoc over time, destroying speech, comprehension, and coordination and causing restlessness and dramatic mood swings. One in three people over the age of 80 will be its victim, and most of us sit back and hope we won't be one of them. The right diet may delay the onset of the disease or lower your risk by as much as 40%. So, isn't a diet change worth it?
To defend themselves from solar radiation and hungry herbivores, plants have created an arsenal of protective chemicals called polyphenols. Flavonoids are among the toughest of these, and they also fall into the antioxidant category.
Flavonoid-rich fruits include apples, blueberries, cranberries, and grapefruit. Vegetables that boast flavonoids include asparagus, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, kidney and lima beans, onions, peas, and spinach. One study found that people who drank fruit and vegetable juices such as orange, apple, or tomato three times a week were less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease. An animal study showed that pomegranate juice halved the risk of Alzheimer's disease in rats. Other studies show that the more flavonoids a person eats, the lower the likelihood of developing dementia.