Are there any proven Alzheimer's prevention strategies?

Answer From Jonathan Graff-Radford, M.D.

Not yet. But there's strong evidence that healthy lifestyle habits — such as diet, exercise and not smoking — may play a role in reducing your risk of Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia. However, more research is needed before any of these lifestyle factors can be considered a proven strategy to prevent Alzheimer's disease.

In particular, the Mediterranean diet has been associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia. The Mediterranean diet is also linked to improved cognition in people who are at risk of heart and other vascular diseases.

The Mediterranean diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and fish and uses olive oil as the primary cooking fat. This type of diet is also a heart-healthy diet that reduces the risk of conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. These conditions are also risk factors for dementia.

More research is needed before experts know specific ways to prevent Alzheimer's. But here are some steps that promote good overall brain health:

  • Avoid smoking.
  • Control vascular risk factors, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
  • Eat a balanced diet — such as the Mediterranean diet — that's rich in vegetables, fruits and lean protein, particularly protein sources containing omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Be physically and socially active, including engaging in aerobic exercise.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Take care of your mental health.
  • Use thinking (cognitive) skills, such as memory skills.
  • Avoid head injury.
  • Treat hearing loss.
  • Limit alcohol consumption.


Jonathan Graff-Radford, M.D.

June 02, 2022 See more Expert Answers

See also

  1. Alzheimer's sleep problems
  2. Alzheimer's: New treatments
  3. Alzheimer's 101
  4. Alzheimer's and daily tasks
  5. Understanding the difference between dementia types
  6. Alzheimer's disease
  7. Alzheimer's disease: Can exercise prevent memory loss?
  8. Alzheimer's drugs
  9. Alzheimer's genes
  10. Alzheimer's nose spray: New Alzheimer's treatment?
  11. Alzheimer's stages
  12. Alzheimer's and holidays
  13. Antidepressant withdrawal: Is there such a thing?
  14. Antidepressants and alcohol: What's the concern?
  15. Antidepressants and weight gain: What causes it?
  16. Antidepressants: Can they stop working?
  17. Antidepressants: Side effects
  18. Antidepressants: Selecting one that's right for you
  19. Antidepressants: Which cause the fewest sexual side effects?
  20. Anxiety disorders
  21. Atypical antidepressants
  22. Caregiver stress
  23. Clinical depression: What does that mean?
  24. Corticobasal degeneration (corticobasal syndrome)
  25. CT scan
  26. Depression and anxiety: Can I have both?
  27. Depression, anxiety and exercise
  28. What is depression? A Mayo Clinic expert explains.
  29. Depression: Diagnosis is key
  30. Depression in women: Understanding the gender gap
  31. Depression (major depressive disorder)
  32. Depression: Provide support, encouragement
  33. Depression: Supporting a family member or friend
  34. Diagnosing Alzheimer's
  35. Did the definition of Alzheimer's disease change?
  36. Intermittent fasting
  37. Male depression: Understanding the issues
  38. MAOIs and diet: Is it necessary to restrict tyramine?
  39. Marijuana and depression
  40. Mayo Clinic Minute: 3 tips to reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease
  41. Mayo Clinic Minute: Alzheimer's disease risk and lifestyle
  42. Mayo Clinic Minute New definition of Alzheimer's changes
  43. Mayo Clinic Minute: Women and Alzheimer's Disease
  44. Mediterranean diet recipes
  45. Memory loss: When to seek help
  46. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  47. MRI
  48. Natural remedies for depression: Are they effective?
  49. Nervous breakdown: What does it mean?
  50. New Alzheimers Research
  51. Pain and depression: Is there a link?
  52. Phantosmia: What causes olfactory hallucinations?
  53. Positron emission tomography scan
  54. Posterior cortical atrophy
  55. Seeing inside the heart with MRI
  56. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  57. Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  58. Brain anatomy
  59. Sundowning: Late-day confusion
  60. Treatment-resistant depression
  61. Tricyclic antidepressants and tetracyclic antidepressants
  62. Video: Alzheimer's drug shows early promise
  63. MRI
  64. Vitamin B-12 and depression
  65. Young-onset Alzheimer's