THE ALZHEIMER’S PREVENTION AND TREATMENT DIET:
USING NUTRITION TO COMBAT THE EFFECTS OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE
by Richard Isaacson, MD & Christopher Ochner, PHD
“Research has shown that diet is one of the greatest weapons available to protect and defend your brain against Alzheimer’s disease” (p. 213).
This straightforward, yet powerful, statement is found at the book’s conclusion, demonstrating the link between diet and and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). When I first became a retail co-owner of a health food store more than 30 years ago, this link was not always so clear. But this book clearly demonstrates how our food choices affect the state of our health.
As people are now beginning to live longer, more than five million Americans and millions more worldwide have become afflicted with AD, causing major concerns globally. Of course, diet is not the only or even the largest factor behind Alzheimer’s, but it is a major factor that we can adjust in order to help prevent or treat AD. The book explains how we can do this, as well as demonstrating how an unhealthy diet contributes to other major illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and obesity. These, in turn, seem to increase the risk of dementia. Additionally, dietary choices may also directly influence the workings of our brains where Alzheimer’s develops.
There are seven major chapters in the book: 1) Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease; 2) Why Does Diet Matter?; 3) The Elements of Nutrition; 4) Diets that Improve Brain Health; 5) The APT Diet (Alzheimer’s Prevention & Treatment Diet); 6) Other Strategies for AD Prevention; and 7) Managing the Challenges of AD Dementia. Then there is a succinct Conclusion, followed by an excellent Glossary of Terms and Resources and, finally, Nutrition and Activity Logs to keep track of the nine-week diet program described in the book.
While the book does focus on food and diet, the authors also describe other strategies to incorporate into your life, called “multimodal approaches.” These include regular exercise, brain healthy supplements (vitamins & minerals, omega-3 Fatty Acids, cocoa powder, curcumin, resveratrol, etc.), intellectual activity (e.g., puzzles, board games, knitting), social activity, and stress-reduction techniques.
This book is filled with so much information to digest that I suggest reading it slowly, so that your mind does not become overloaded with the facts, the research, and the helpful charts. The nine-week dietary plan provides practical information with charts to keep track of what you are eating, gradually reducing the number of carbs, and including fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans, and sufficient water. Actually, the diet plan could be used for anyone who wants to improve his or her health, but the authors’ research focuses mainly on a dietary plan for Alzheimer’s, both prevention and treatment.
This well thought-through plan feels solid to me — that is, the background information and approach are practical and doable, with lots of flexibility as the reader incorporates the nine-week program into daily life, and keeps a record of food intake. I personally plan to incorporate many of the ideas into my own lifestyle to make it healthier. My brain is also aging, and the plan feels like one that I can tackle with advice from my doctor, as the authors suggest.
This is an excellent resource that is evidence-based to help protect and treat Alzheimer’s with an emphasis on a whole foods diet and supplement plan, as well as exercise and stress reducers.
The 304-pagebook is published by Square One Publishers and costs $17.95.