Eat smart

Choosing heart-healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, may help protect you from dementia.

Published: February, 2021

You know a healthy diet can help protect your heart, but did you know that choosing the right foods may help to reduce your risk of dementia as well? The same system of blood vessels that helps circulate blood to your heart also supplies your brain. When they become clogged or unhealthy, or your blood pressure rises too high, it's just as damaging to your mind as it is to your heart.

So, what foods can you add to your diet to help your brain health? Teresa Fung, adjunct professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, says her top picks are elements of the Mediterranean and DASH diets (see "Studying the connection between diet and brain health"). Elements of both of these diets are shown by research to help reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. It's thought that these dietary patterns help the brain by keeping blood flowing efficiently and reducing damaging inflammation.

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