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Healthy Fats: Reducing the Risk of Alzheimer's

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Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting one in 13 Canadians over age 65

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting one in 13 Canadians over age 65. Two new studies on the benefits of healthy fats for brain health are timely releases this January, Alzheimer’s disease month.

In July 2003, Archives of Neurology reported that weekly consumption of fish and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid) reduces Alzheimer’s disease risk by 60 per cent. Those with highest DHA intake had the greatest protective effect.

Similarly, in April 2003, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported the results of a French study, which concluded that foods rich in omega-3s help prevent cognitive decline due to aging. The men and women, aged 63 to 74, with the greatest omega-3 fatty acid levels had the least amount of brain deterioration.

Omega-3s are found in salmon, tuna, flax, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and dark-green leafy vegetables. Direct sources of DHA include wild salmon, lake trout, sardines, tuna, and anchovies. Supplements are also available.

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