Omega-3s have also been linked to lower levels of beta-amyloid, a type of protein found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s-related damage. “Omega-3 fatty acids easily penetrate the blood-brain barrier and are essential for the brain’s structure and functioning,” explains Dr. Agarwal.
Foroutan adds there has been some research that indicates high doses of omega-3 fatty acids after a concussion or other traumatic brain injury may have protective effects on lasting damage
Where to find it: Besides fatty fish, good sources of omega-3s include nuts and seeds and some fortified foods such as eggs and yogurt. If you’re someone who doesn’t eat seafood often, check with your doctor about taking an omega-3 supplement if bloodwork indicates you’re deficient, says Mirella Díaz-Santos, P.h.D., an assistant professor in the Mary S Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at UCLA’s Department of Neurology and Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement partner.
This vitamin functions as an antioxidant in the body, and it protects cells from oxidative stress, a type of damage caused by free radicals (unstable molecules in the body), even in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. The brain is particularly susceptible to oxidative stress, which increases during aging and is a major contributor to cognitive decline.
Vitamin E is also anti-inflammatory, which helps to keep DNA healthy and replicating correctly while maintaining the structure of healthy brain cell membranes, says Robin Foroutan, M.S., R.D.N., a functional dietitian.
Where to find it: Vitamin E can be found in dark leafy greens, avocado, red bell pepper, asparagus, mango, pumpkin, and nuts and seeds.