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Eat to Lower Your Risk of Dementia

You can help keep your brain healthy with these 6 foods — plus a dose of sunshine

Eat to Prevent Alzheimer's: beans

Beans offer incredible benefits for the brain. — Photo by ULTRA.F/Getty Images

1. Get full o’ beans

Beans and green peas provide a rich dietary source of B-complex vitamins (plus, they provide plenty of protein and fiber). Vitamin B-1 (thiamine), which may affect blood sugar levels, and folic acid, which is important for a healthy nervous system, are often found in enriched grain products and cereals. But older adults should consider taking B-12 supplements, Johnson says, especially if they are among the one-third of people who have been infected with a bug that can cause ulcers, because the infection limits the stomach’s ability to extract B-12 from food. Meat, poultry, fish, dairy and fortified cereals are also excellent B-12 sources.

2010 University of  Oxford study, meanwhile, found that people diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment who took a supplement containing folic acid and vitamins B-6 and B-12 for two years lowered their levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, and showed less brain shrinkage than those receiving dummy pills.

Next page: Food No. 2: Don't forget citrus. »

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BRAIN HEALTH: Working with brain experts from the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, AARP has developed a wide range of resources to keep your brain sharp.

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