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. Can music help someone with Alzheimer's?
  23. Caregiver stress
  24. Clinical depression: What does that mean?
  25. Corticobasal degeneration (corticobasal syndrome)
  26. CT scan
  27. Depression and anxiety: Can I have both?
  28. Depression, anxiety and exercise
  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. Home safety tips for Alzheimer's caregivers
  36. Intermittent fasting
  37. Is the definition of Alzheimer's disease changing?
  38. Male depression: Understanding the issues
  39. MAOIs and diet: Is it necessary to restrict tyramine?
  40. Marijuana and depression
  41. Mayo Clinic Minute: 3 tips to reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease
  42. Mayo Clinic Minute: Alzheimer's disease risk and lifestyle
  43. Mayo Clinic Minute New definition of Alzheimer's changes
  44. Mayo Clinic Minute: Women and Alzheimer's Disease
  45. Mediterranean diet recipes
  46. Memory loss: When to seek help
  47. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  48. MRI
  49. Natural remedies for depression: Are they effective?
  50. Nervous breakdown: What does it mean?
  51. New Alzheimers Research
  52. Pain and depression: Is there a link?
  53. Pet therapy
  54. Phantosmia: What causes olfactory hallucinations?
  55. Positron emission tomography scan
  56. Posterior cortical atrophy
  57. Seeing inside the heart with MRI
  58. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  59. Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  60. Sharing Alzheimer's diagnosis
  61. Brain anatomy
  62. Sundowning: Late-day confusion
  63. Treatment-resistant depression
  64. Tricyclic antidepressants and tetracyclic antidepressants
  65. Video: Alzheimer's drug shows early promise
  66. MRI
  67. Vitamin B-12 and depression
  68. Young-onset Alzheimer's