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?
Doctors have known for years that deficiency of certain B vitamins, particularly folate, can make it difficult to perform some cognitive tasks. New evidence shows that even slightly low levels can have a similar effect because folate, along with vitamins B6 and B12, helps to keep homocysteine levels in check. This amino acid impairs brain function and can dramatically increase a person's risk of Alzheimer's disease (as well as heart disease). The good news is that folate from foods like dark leafy greens and dried beans may slow cognitive decline.