As the associate director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medical College, my work has been focused on rigorous studies of how lifestyle choices shape the health of our brains. Our research extends beyond the concerns of preventing and mitigating Alzheimer’s, into maintaining vital cognitive power over a lifetime.
Of all aspects of lifestyle, perhaps none is as important as diet. The latest research (including my own work) shows over and over that following a healthy diet is powerfully preventive against brain aging and dementia. However, there is a surprisingly wide controversy over exactly what constitutes a "healthy diet."
Depending on where you get your information, you’ll find that eggs are good for you one day and bad the next; sodium is responsible for high blood pressure until it’s not; carbohydrates and fats take turns making you overweight and sick or energetic and healthy. In 2018, everybody is ditching carbs for fat. And if you’ve been in a bookstore or a restaurant or had friends to dinner lately, you’re well aware of the Great American Gluten Panic.
Today, as many as one in three Americans avoids gluten—a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye—thereby eliminating grains and cereals from the diet. They might be trying to lose weight, boost energy, or even treat medical conditions like arthritis, asthma, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, and now more recently: dementia.