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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

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Eat to Prevent Alzheimer's: spinach

Flavonoids in spinach may prevent beta-amyloid plaque build up in Alzheimer's patients. — Philippe Desenrck/Getty Images

5. Savor spinach

Popeye’s favorite snack is a winner in the Dark Leafy Green category.

It’s rich in vitamins A and K, folic acid and iron, plus it’s versatile: It can be eaten raw in salads, baked, steamed or stir-fried. Spinach is also packed with at least 15 different antioxidant compounds known as flavonoids, which have been shown to inhibit the formation of the beta-amyloid plaques that build up in those with Alzheimer’s disease.

Harvard researchers reported in 2005 that women in the long-running Nurses’ Health Study who ate eight servings of green, leafy vegetables a week (along with five servings of cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli or kale) showed less cognitive decline than those who ate less. It wasn’t clear, however, whether that was due to the greens themselves or to other factors, such as the wholesale substitution of vegetables for fatty foods.

Next page: Food No. 6: Coffee craving. »

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