Salad dressing, nuts, fish, tomatoes, poultry, cruciferous vegetables, fruits, and dark-green leafy vegetables: Following a diet that features these foods while limiting intake of high-fat dairy products, red meat, organ meat, and butter may cut a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers collected dietary information from and performed neurologic and neuropsychologic testing every 1.5 years on 2,148 community-based New Yorkers aged 65 years and older who were initially free of dementia. Over 3.9 years, 253 participants developed Alzheimer’s. The investigators found that the dietary pattern mentioned above was strongly associated with reduced disease risk. In their study, scheduled to be published in the June 2010 issue of Archives of Neurology (available at archneur.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/2010.84v1, accessed May 13, 2010), researchers suggest that the reduced risk of Alzheimer’s may be linked to the lower ingestion of saturated fatty acids and higher ingestion of polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, and folate characterized by these eating patterns.

Another recent report recommends that older adults avoid the buildup of copper and iron in their bodies, as these metals have been scientifically linked to Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and other age-related disorders (Chem Res Toxicol. 2010;23:319-326).

According to lead investigator George J. Brewer, MD, professor emeritus of human genetics at University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, copper and iron are essential nutrients for life But after age 50, excessive amounts can damage cells.

Dr. Brewer advises that people aged 50 years and older avoid vitamins and mineral pills that contain copper and iron, lower their meat intake, avoid drinking water from copper pipes, donate blood regularly to reduce their body’s iron levels, and take zinc supplements to lower their copper levels.