Mediterranean diet, regular physical activity and a normal body mass index can reduce the incidence of protein build-ups that are associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, says a study. The findings showed that each one of several lifestyle factors — a healthy body mass index, physical activity and a Mediterranean diet — were linked to lower levels of plaques and tangles on the brain scans. Plaque, deposits of a toxic protein called beta-amyloid in the spaces between nerve cells in the brain; and tangles, knotted threads of the tau protein found within brain cells, are considered the key indicators of Alzheimer’s. The Mediterranean diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, cereals and fish and low in meat and dairy, and characterised by a high ratio of monounsaturated to saturated fats, and mild to moderate alcohol consumption. Earlier studies have linked a healthy lifestyle to delays in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. However, the new study is the first to demonstrate how lifestyle factors directly influence abnormal proteins in people with subtle memory loss who have not yet been diagnosed with dementia, the researchers said. “The study reinforces the importance of living a healthy life to prevent Alzheimer’s, even before the development of clinically significant dementia,” said lead author David Merrill, Psychiatrist at the University of California, Los Angeles.