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Why Eat Nuts and Seeds as Part of a Healthy Alzheimer’s Diet?

Posted by on Friday, June 16th, 2017

 nuts for the Alzheimer's diet

There’s been a lot of hype these days about antioxidants for the Alzheimer’s diet.  Nuts and Seeds (such as almonds and sunflower seeds) are foods that contain some of the highest levels of a powerful antioxidant, Vitamin E.

Foods high in nutrients such as vitamin E and C have been studied for their effects on Alzheimer’s disease, namely, the amyloid beta plaques notorious for being a hallmark symptom of AD.  Another culprit when it comes to Alzheimer’s is neurofibrillary tangles within the cells.  The oxidative inflammatory process has been shown in many lab studies to be involved in the Alzheiemer’s disease process in lab animals.  It has not yet been scientifically proven whether these symptoms are the cause or the effect of AD, some scientists claim it’s possible the symptoms are both cause and effect.  In the end, the nerve cell function in the brain is disrupted and eventually the neurons die.

Overall, the brain involves a very high rate of metabolic activity.  It generates free radical molecules that are highly reactive and therefore considered toxic to cell tissues. 

The body has a natural defense against free radical molecules, caused by factors such as smoking, pollution, cell injury and infection.  These protective measures include antioxidant proteins and nutrients.

Vitamin E is a very potent antioxidant that resides in the cell membrane, where it works to fight free radicals.  Vitamin E also has anti-inflammatory properties.  Vitamin C is a less potent antioxidant than Vitamin E  because it is not as effective at breaking the chains of free radical molecules.  Vitamin C does, however, work to potentiate the effects of Vitamin E in the body.


Studies on lab animals have shown that Vitamin E helps protect the brain from damage due to inflammatory mechanisms and oxidation (resulting from the normal metabolism of oxygen).  Rats and mice fed diets high in Vitamin E showed a higher level of memory retention than rodents on control diets.  The brains of the rodents who ingested a high diet of Vitamin E also showed a lower rate of neuron death and less oxidative damage.   

Human Studies

Two studies, one in Chicago, Illinois and one in The Netherlands, discovered that a higher intake of Vitamin E in the diet resulted in a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). 

Foods high in Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a very potent antioxidant.  In addition to releasing free radicals in the body, Vitamin E is required to repair damaged skin, balance hormones, improve vision, thicken hair and balance cholesterol levels. Top Vitamin E rich foods include: 

1) Almonds

2) Sunflower seeds

3) Spinach

4) Sweet Potato

5) Avocado

6) Wheat germ

7) Palm Oil

8) Butternut squash

9) Trout

10) Olive oil

In summary, studies show strong evidence that Vitamin E offers antioxidant protection against AD.  Although many foods offer Vitamin E, almonds and sunflower seeds offer some of the highest levels.  Whole grains and egg yolks contain moderate levels of Vitamin E and some vegetables such as collard greens and avocados contain Vitamin E as well.  

Learn more about foods high in antioxidants for the Alzheimer’s diet by CLICKING HERE to order the book, Alzheimer’s Treatment & Prevention Diet Book, written by Richard Isaacson, M.D. 


For more easy to follow nutrition advice check out The Alzheimer’s Diet: A Step-by-Step Nutritional Approach to Memory Loss Prevention and Treatment, or visit to learn more about Neurologist, Dr. Richard Isaacson's 9 week diet plan and his cutting edge approach in the fight against AD in Alzheimer's Treatment | Alzheimer's Prevention: A Patient and Family Guide 2012 Edition. Also, sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates in AD treatment and prevention news.

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