'I'm a Neurologist, and This Is My Go-To Dinner For Alzheimer's Prevention'

Neurologist cooking dinner for Alzheimer's prevention

Nearly 7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease, according to an Alzheimer's Association report released in 2024.

Diets are usually included in first-line advice for reducing your likelihood of developing other conditions, like heart disease, many cancers and Type 2 diabetes.

With Alzheimer's, however, the link between diet and risk is less known and more data is needed. "The causes of Alzheimer's are multi-factorial, complex and yet to be fully understood," explains Dr. Jonathan J. Rasouli, MDthe director of Complex and Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery in the Department of Neurological Surgery at Staten Island University Hospital.

However, Dr. Rasouli says some research points to a link between the development and prevention of dementia (Alzheimer's disease is a form of dementia).

"Therefore, it is a good idea to understand how food, diet and exercise can play a role in our risk for diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's," Dr. Rasouli adds. "If we can potentially lessen our risk of Alzheimer's by eating certain foods, then why not? It seems like a risk worth taking."

OK, so the next question is: What's for dinner? Dr. Rasouli shared what he eats for dinner to prevent Alzheimer's (or at least reduce his risk).

Related: 'I've Spent 40 Years Studying the Brain, and This Is the #1 Habit I Recommend for Memory Retention'

A Neurologist's Go-To Dinner for Alzheimer's Risk Reduction

When in doubt, Dr. Rasouli whips up grilled salmon with turmeric seasoning and a side of steamed broccoli.

"While there is no conclusive link between eating certain foods and preventing Alzheimer's, I do like foods that incorporate healthy omega fatty acids and phytonutrients and are low in carbohydrates and processed sugars and fats," Dr. Rasouli says.

A large 2023 meta-analysis of studies involving more than 103,000 participants pointed to "moderate-to-high-level evidence" that consuming omega-3 fatty acids could lower the chances of all-cause dementia and cognitive decline by about 20%.

Turmeric counts curcumin as its main active ingredient. A 2019 review of animal studies indicated that curcumin could help moderate or reverse memory impairment in rodents.

As for broccoli, a growing body of research has shown that veggies like broccoli are *chef's kiss* for the brain, including a 2017 meta-analysis and a 2022 study of adults in Japan.

Great as all of these nutrients are, you'll want to ensure your dish remains on this side of "healthy."

"The meal is pretty healthy on its own, but it's generally a good idea to be careful with carbohydrate, sugar and salt intake as these can contribute to insulin resistance and poor health," Dr. Rasouli says.

So, avoid sprinkling tons of salt on your salmon (turmeric should add some flavor) or serving it with a heaping helping of a high-carb, high-sugar side.

That said, Dr. Rasouli loves this dinner idea for more than its nutrition. "It tastes great, and I never get tired of it," he shares. "It is super easy to make and doesn't require too many ingredients."

In other words, even busy types can probably dig into grilled salmon seasoned with turmeric and steamed broccoli.

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General Ways to Eat Well for Better Brain Health

Whether salmon is your jam or not, Dr. Rasouli says following some general building blocks and avoiding certain pitfalls can help you build a better, brain-healthy dinner.

"Any dinner that is low in processed ingredients, sugars and unhealthy fats would be a good dinner not only for Alzheimer's prevention but also your general health," he explains. "I like to stay away from red meats, processed meats like sausage and anything high in sugar. These have been shown to contribute to insulin resistance, which is a risk factor for dementia."

One 2022 study of more than 37,000 people linked higher sugar consumption with a greater chance of developing Alzheimer's disease in older women. A review published in 2023 in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease found that eating meat, particularly red and processed meat, and ultra-processed foods was a risk factor for Alzheimer's.

On the flip side, green veggies and omega 3's are hallmarks of the Mediterranean and DASH diets, the latter of which emphasizes low-sodium foods. Neither diet is keen on processed foods and red meats. A study published in Neurology found fewer signs of Alzheimer's in autopsies of adults who consumed these diets.

Up next: 7 Things That Happen to Your Body When You Don't Eat Enough Vegetables


  • Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures. Alzheimer's Association

  • Dr. Jonathan J. Rasouli, MD, the director of Complex and Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery in the Department of Neurological Surgery at Staten Island University Hospital

  • The Relationship of Omega-3 Fatty Acids with Dementia and Cognitive Decline: Evidence from Prospective Cohort Studies of Supplementation, Dietary Intake, and Blood Markers. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

  • Effect of curcumin on memory impairment: A systematic review. Phytomedicine.

  • Increased Consumption of Fruit and Vegetables Is Related to a Reduced Risk of Cognitive Impairment and Dementia: Meta-Analysis. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.

  • Long-term association of vegetable and fruit intake with risk of dementia in Japanese older adults: the Hisayama study. BMC.

  • Dietary sugar intake and risk of Alzheimer's disease in older women. Nutritional Neuroscience.

  • Diet’s Role in Modifying Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease: History and Present Understanding. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease

  • Association of Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay and Mediterranean Diets With Alzheimer's Disease PathologyNeurology