November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, and so we’re sharing this clip from our interview with Max Lugavere about the best foods to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Max has been on an incredible journey, beginning when his mother was diagnosed with a form of dementia about which little was known. At that point, he put his career on hold and devoted his life to learning everything he could about brain health, Alzheimer’s, and the role that food plays in all of it. His insights led him to write the book Genius Foods, completely change the way that he eats, and become an expert researcher on Alzheimer’s prevention and brain health. Read on (or watch the above clip) to learn more about foods to prevent Alzheimer’s, or listen to Max’s full interview on our podcast.
One of Max’s ultimate brain-boosting foods is something simple and affordable that you can buy at any local market: avocados. “I think it’s funny that avocados are shaped like a bomb, if you think about it, because I consider avocados as being the perfect food to drop a bomb on inflammation and oxidative stress,” says Max. He also points out that they have the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which boost processing speed in the brain and help brain cells work more efficiently. Avocados are also packed with dietary fiber and tons of potassium (twice that of a banana!), the latter of which Max believes is crucial — our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate four times the potassium we eat today.
He’s quick to point out that no one item — not even an avocado — is a magic pill that will prevent Alzheimer’s. “There’s no single food that’s gonna prevent Alzheimer’s disease for you,” he says. “It’s about what you’re eating day to day, how you’re living day to day.” In other words, if you eat an avocado every day, but it’s on top of a diet of processed and nutrient-poor foods, it’s not going to do anything in the way of Alzheimer’s prevention (or any other health benefits). Rather, you need to focus on a wide range of brain-boosting foods, as well as other lifestyle factors, to maximize your brain health.
Other foods to prevent Alzheimer’s that Max recommends include:
Water with mineral salt (ie, adding high-quality, mineral-containing salt to a glass of water)
Dark leafy greens
Extra virgin olive oil
Lean meats like steak, chicken, and fish (Max recommends ButcherBox, which delivers 100% grass-fed, pasture-raised, hormone- and antibiotic-free beef, pork, and chicken to your home)
Of course, diet isn’t the only factor when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease — but it is a big one. As Max explains, the most well-defined Alzheimer’s gene we know about is the APOE e4 allele, and 97% of the people who develop Alzheimer’s do so because of an interplay between that gene and their lifestyle choices. That’s right: it’s not solely diet, but it’s also not solely genetic. Max emphasizes that by eating right, exercising regularly, and taking other steps to boost your brain health, you can’t undo genetic components (and there may still be unknown genetic risk factors we’re not aware of), but you can stack the odds in your favor against Alzheimer’s disease.
It may not be a magic pill, but it’s a major step toward mitigating risk. As Max says, “Genes are not our destiny.”