If you’re trying to eat healthy you may decide to hold the dressing when you dig into a salad. But a new study shows that salad dressing — along with healthy helpings of nuts, fish, poultry and certain fruits and vegetables — appears to help fend off Alzheimer’s disease.
It’s the latest research on the link between food and brain health, and it comes from the Columbia University Medical Center. It recommends keeping it simple when it comes to what you slather on your salads and veggies – Italian-style dressings made with olive oil and vinegar are best.
Research on diet and risk of Alzheimer’s is rapidly growing, but studies that have investigated individual foods have turned up mixed results. That’s because we eat meals that combine many foods and nutrients which likely work together.
The researchers followed more than 2,000 older adults without dementia for four years. Those who ate more salad dressing, nuts, fish, chicken, tomatoes, fruit, cruciferous vegetables, leafy greens and less high-fat dairy and red meat, were 38-per-cent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s. There are a number of ways this combination of foods may reduce Alzheimer’s risk. Vitamin E, found in many of these items, is a powerful antioxidant that helps shield brain cells from free radical damage.
One caveat though: make your own salad dressing. Commercial versions can be very high in fat, salt and sugar, and there’s more and more evidence out there that what’s good for your heart is also good for your brain.