Receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease can be devastating, as having it can lead to challenges associated with memory and thinking. And while there is no foolproof way to prevent this disease from occurring, focusing on certain lifestyle habits may help reduce your risk.
While certain factors are completely out of your control, like your family history, there are many things you can do that may help keep your brain health in check, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, including:
- Participating in physical activity
- Following the DASH or Mediterranean diets
- Maintaining social connection
- Minimizing your risk of experiencing head trauma (wear your seatbelt!)
Among the many foods with nutrients that can support brain health, eggs are top of mind because of the vitamins, minerals, and other compounds found in them. That is what makes eggs the best food for Alzheimer’s disease.
Eggs are a protein-packed and totally versatile food that is a beloved breakfast addition and a must-have ingredient for favorite dishes like deviled eggs. But eggs are so much more than a delicious addition to meals and snacks, as they are one of the few food options rich in choline—a nutrient that supports lifelong brain health at every age and stage, including memory, thinking, and mood. In fact, a study in eastern Finland found that higher dietary choline intake is linked to a lower risk of experiencing dementia and research continues to explore this relationship.
When you are eating your egg yolk, you are getting lutein and zeaxanthin, or carotenoids that are linked to brain health among healthy older adults.
A recent study supported by the American Egg Board found that consuming even limited amounts of eggs (about one egg per week) was linked to slower memory decline later in life compared to consuming no eggs. According to this study, those who ate the least amount of eggs (fewer than about half an egg per week) had the largest rate of memory decline over time. Those who ate an “intermediate” amount of eggs (about half to 1 1/2 eggs per week) had a significantly lower rate of decline in memory performance compared to the low egg intake group. In other words, even a very small amount of egg included in the diet (as little as 1/2 to 1 egg per week) was associated with a beneficial impact on memory.
As an added bonus, eggs are an accessible, affordable, and incredibly versatile food that, as part of a healthy dietary pattern, supports both brain and heart health—two factors that are very much interrelated. The American Heart Association Nutrition Science Advisory Committee says that older healthy individuals can consume up to two eggs per day within the context of a heart-healthy dietary patterngiving consideration to the nutritional benefits and convenience of eggs.
So, in a nutshell (or an eggshell), including nutrients that support brain health in your diet may be one important way to help reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Maintaining an overall healthy eating pattern that includes a mix of nutrient-dense foods like eggs, produce, nuts, and seeds in your diet is a smart habit to get into for brain health.
Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, CLEC
Lauren Manaker is an award-winning registered dietitian, book author, and recipe developer who has been in practice for almost 20 years. Read more