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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: sardines

More fish in your diet could prevent dementia. — Sot/Getty Images

4. Go fishin’

Scientists have conducted thousands of studies of omega-3 fatty acids in recent decades. These polyunsaturated “healthy fats” reduce inflammation in the body and seem to help the heart function.

UCLA scientists who took blood samples and performed MRI scans on 1,575 people recently reported that people with lower omega-3 levels in their red blood had more brain shrinkage and poorer performance on memory tests. Bowman thinks omega-3s help prevent a type of dementia that is driven by blood vessel disease by healing the blood vessels themselves.

The best dietary sources are oily cold-water fish, such as salmon, herring and mackerel, eaten once or twice a week, Johnson says. Those who don’t eat fish should consult their doctor about whether to take fish-oil supplements, because fish oil also acts as a blood thinner, she says. People typically are advised take one to three fish-oil capsules per day.

Next page: Food No. 5: Savor spinach. »

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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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