Diet Can Have Impact on Alzheimer's Risk Factors

Dorian Martin Health Guide
  • Two key health issues, heart disease and diabetes, are considered risk factors for developing dementia. For instance, a recent report from the Alzheimer’s Disease International highlighted the risk factors of both diabetes and blood pressure in relation to dementia. Researchers now believe that having hypertension when you are middle-aged can increase your dementia risk.

    Furthermore, developing mid-to-late life diabetes also has been found to be associated with an increased risk for dementia.
    Therefore, it’s important to take steps to guard your health at mid-life. One of the key steps is a relatively easy one – your diet. Turns out that what you put in your mouth can go a long way in protecting yourself from heart disease and diabetes.  But with all the hype about different types of eating plans, which diet should you choose?

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    The first place I’d suggest that you start your research is at The U.S. News & World Review website, which has done a significant amount of analysis on 35 diets.  The initial list was developed when the magazine’s staff selected specific diets and then reviewed pertinent research that has been published in medical journals, government reports and other resources. The reporters and editors created in-depth profiles for each diet that included a description, a review of the diet’s claims and an analysis of health risks. The editorial staff also tried to describe what it was like to follow the diet (such as whether a person would be limited in the times one could eat out at a restaurant or whether the diet was structured to allow “splurges”).  

    In addition, recognized experts in diet, nutrition, obesity, food psychology, diabetes and heart disease were asked to review the diet profiles and rate them as far as the ease of following the diet, the ability to produce short-term and long-term weight loss, nutritional completeness and safety, the potential for preventing and managing diabetes, and the potential for preventing and managing heart disease. The editors then created eight rankings, two of which were best diabetes diets and best heart-healthy diets.

    There’s a lot of overlap in how some of the diets rated. For instance, the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet was tied for first in the category for preventing and managing diabetes and rated third in preventing and managing heart disease.  Not surprisingly, this diet also came in first in the best overall diet category as well as the complete nutrition category.  
    The magazine’s website also offers a scorecard for each diet that is based on a five-star rating system. For instance, the DASH diet received 4.9 stars for safety, 4.7 stars for nutrition, 4.3 stars for heart health, 3.6 stars for diabetes, 3.2 stars for short-term weight loss, 3.1 stars for being easy to follow, and 3.0 stars for long-term weight loss. This diet’s overall score was 4.1 stars.

    So let’s look at the top diets in relation to diabetes and heart health. I also have listed the diets that were rated the highest for overall health.

  • Best Diets for Preventing and Managing Diabetes

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    Seven diets were rated the best when considering preventing and managing diabetes. These diets in order were:

    • #1 (tie) – Biggest Loser Diet
    • #1 (tie) – DASH Diet
    • #3 (tie) – Engine 2 Diet
    • #3 (tie) – Flexitarian Diet
    • #3 (tie) – Mayo Clinic Diet
    • #3 (tie) – Ornish Diet
    • #3 (tie) – Vegan Diet

    Best Diets for Heart Health

    The best diets to protect heart health are designed to help you lose weight or lower cholesterol, blood pressure or triglycerides.  The seven top-rated heart-healthy diets, in order, are:

    • #1 – Ornish Diet
    • #2 – TLC Diet
    • #3 – DASH Diet
    • #4 – Mediterranean Diet
    • #5 (tie) – Engine 2 Diet
    • #5 (tie) – Vegan Diet
    • #7 – Flexitarian Diet

    The Best Overall Diets

    Seven diets were given recognized with gold medal recognition as the best eating plans. These diets (in order) are:

    • #1 – DASH Diet
    • #2 – TLC Diet
    • #3 (tie) – Mayo Clinic Diet
    • #3 (tie) – Mediterranean Diet
    • #3 (tie) – Weight Watchers
    • #6 (tie) – Flexitarian Diet
    • #6 (tie) – Volumetrics

    I’d encourage you to go to the website and do a little research. Each diet’s profile includes an overview, recipes, a menu, nutritional information, expert reviews, as well as do’s and don’ts.  Then I’d encourage you to start making improvements to your diet so you can help your body avoid diabetes and heart disease and, thus, get some protection from dementia.

    Primary Sources for This Sharepost:

    Oaklander, M. (2014). New insight on Alzheimer’s: What increases your risk.

    U.S. News & World Report. (2015). Best diets overall.

    U.S. News & World Report. (2015). U.S. News best diets: How we rated 35 eating plans.

Published On: January 13, 2015