The Alzheimer's disease (AD) brain shows numerous pathological phenomena, including amyloid plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, elevated levels of advanced glycation endproducts and their receptor, oxidative damage and inflammation, all of which contribute to neurodegeneration. In this review, we consider these neuropathologies associated with AD and propose that inflammation and oxidative stress play major pathogenic roles throughout disease progression. It is believed that oxidative stress and inflammation not only play major roles early in the disease, but that they act in a reinforcing cycle, amplifying their damaging effects. Therefore, epidemiological studies indicate that anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and neuroprotective agents including those from medicinal plants and health promoting foods may protect against AD, possibly through scavenging of reactive oxygen species, cytokine downregulation and strengthening the neurons antioxidant defense. This concept is further supported by evidence that certain diets (such as a Mediterranean diet) have been associated with a lower incidence of AD. This review highlights specific foods and diets thought to lower the risk of developing AD and discusses the potential of healthy nutrition in disease prevention.
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