Eat Greek to Prevent Dementia

Medically reviewed in January 2021

You could slash your risk of Alzheimer's by 60 percent (yes, 60 percent!) with just two healthy habits: Eat like a Greek, and go for a walk.

A large, 5-year study showed that the people in their 70s who were the most active and adhered the best to a Mediterranean-style diet were 61–67 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease compared with the least active and least Mediterranean-minded of the group.

Why a Walk Helps
First, let's look at the walking part of the equation. The most active in the study group got about an hour and a half of exercise weekly. That's just a few 30-minute walks a week -- a pretty manageable commitment. Better yet, aim to walk 30 minutes every day.

Mediterranean Magic
Now, let's look at the diet. People with the lowest dementia risk ate the highest amounts of fruit, veggies, legumes, and fish, but less meat and dairy products. Monounsaturated fats, like olive oil, also accounted for more of their fat intake than saturated fats. All very typical ratios in a Mediterranean-style diet that doctors and health experts alike recommend for all sorts of reasons. These nutrient-dense, healthy-fat-focused foods could help protect brains against disease and cognitive decline and help protect the body from lots of other bad things, too. For example:

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