Top 10 foods and recommendations for fighting and preventing Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimers

Did you know that Alzheimer's disease, cancer, and heart disease are the leading cause of deaths in US? Statistics show that Alzheimer's disease affects more than 35 million people globally and by the year 2050 Alzheimer's could impact more than 115 million people worldwide.

Most neurologists, experts, and nutritionists agree that your diet and lifestyle choices could have a huge impact in prevention of Alzheimer's disease. In fact, Dr. David Perlmutter, the author of the New York Times Bestselling book known as ‘Grain Brain’ explains how diet plays an important role in prevention of Alzheimer's disease.

"What we've crystallized it down to now, in essence, is that diets that are high in sugar and carbs, and similarly diets that are low in fat, are devastating to the brain. When you have a diet that has carbohydrates in it, you are paving the way for Alzheimer's disease. I want to be super clear about that. Dietary carbs lead to Alzheimer's disease. It's a pretty profound statement, but it's empowering nonetheless when we realize that we control our diet. We control our choices, whether to favor fat or carbohydrates" says Dr. Perlmutter.

Here are top recommendations in prevention of Alzheimer’s disease:

    1. Eat more raw organic foods, including dark leafy vegetables, and berries, in particular blueberries:

According to a research published in the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia, a diet high in organic raw foods can help to lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease by 53%. Researchers suggest that regular servings of green leafy vegetables such as spinach, chard, collards, and broccoli can help to fight against plaque buildup in the brain and lower the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's. The antioxidants in berries, in particular blueberries can help to protect the brain against cognitive dysfunction.

    2. Omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D3 can help to fight against Alzheimer's:

According to a research published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, vitamin D3 and omega 3 fatty acids DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) can help to boost the immune system, fight inflammation and plaque buildup in the brain. According to researchers, vitamin D3 and omega 3 fatty acids can destroy the abnormal protein found in the plaque known as “amyloid –beta”.

"Our new study sheds further light on a possible role for nutritional substances such as vitamin D3 and omega-3 in boosting immunity to help fight Alzheimer's" says the leading author of the study Dr. Milan Fiala.  

Keep in mind that avocadoes, nuts and seeds are great source of omega 3 fatty acids, fiber and antioxidants. Wild sockeye salmon (lowest mercury fish) is also a great source of omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin B12. Researchers suggest that consuming foods rich in B12 could lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease and memory loss. According to researchers, omega 3 fatty acids in love oil can help to fight against cognitive decline. Low levels of vitamin D on its own could also cause Alzheimer's disease. So get enough sunlight throughout the day, or if you live in dark places, make sure to take vitamin D supplements.

    3. A diet high in carbohydrates increases the risk of Alzheimer's drastically:

According to a research published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, a diet high in carbs and low in fat (omega3 fatty acids) could increase the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's by 89%. According to researchers, a diet high in omega3 could lower the risk of Alzheimer's 44%.

    4. A diet high in red meat, butter, margarine, and processed cheese can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease:

According to a research published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, eating too much red meat can increase the level of iron buildup in the brain and increase the risk of Alzheimer's. According to researchers, too much iron causes oxidative damage and promotes the production of the abnormal proteins in the brain known as Tau and Beta-amyloid which are the leading cause of Alzheimer's disease. “It is difficult to measure iron in tissue when the tissue is already damaged. But the MRI technology we used in this study allowed us to determine that the increase in iron is occurring together with the tissue damage. We found that the amount of iron is increased in the hippocampus and is associated with tissue damage in patients with Alzheimer's but not in the healthy older individuals - or in the thalamus. So the results suggest that iron accumulation may indeed contribute to the cause of Alzheimer's disease" according to researchers.

Keep in mind that you should eliminate your consumption of processed cheese, butter and margarine and replace them with healthy oils such as organic olive oil, coconut oil or grapeseed oil.

    5. A diet high in sugar increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Keep in mind that diabetes and high glucose levels could double the risk of Alzheimer's:

Many researchers suggest that a diet high in sugar, in particular processed sugar and fructose could significantly increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease. Processed foods, white bread, pastries, and sweets should be limited and preferably eliminated from your diet. Keep in mind that fried foods and fast foods should be completely eliminated from your diet.

According to researchers, a toxic protein known as ADDL makes neurons in the brain insulin resistant and ADDL buildups in the brain gradually and deteriorates the brain cells. Researchers suggest that insulin resistance is linked to Alzheimer's disease and those who are diabetics are twice more likely to develop Alzheimer's [source].

 “Brain scans revealed that greater insulin resistance was linked to less sugar in key parts of the brain, often affected by Alzheimer's. Insulin is the hormone that helps your body use sugar from the foods you eat, and either converts it into energy or stores it away. Insulin resistance is when your body's response to a regular level of the hormone is reduced, creating a need for more insulin. If you don’t have as much fuel, you’re not going to be as adept at remembering something or doing something,’ says the leading author of the study Dr Auriel Willette. ‘This is important with Alzheimer’s disease, because over the course of the disease there is a progressive decrease in the amount of blood sugar used in certain brain regions. Those regions end up using less and less. When this happens certain parts of the brain can't carry out complex processes, like forming memories” adds Dr Auriel Willette.

Keep in mind that according to researchers, high blood sugar levels can also increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease.Among participants with diabetes, higher average glucose levels were also related to an increased risk of dementia” researchers suggest.

    6. Heart disease can increase the risk of Alzheimer's:

According to researchers, heart disease could increase your risk of developing Alzheimer's. “This is more than just another example of how heart health relates to brain health. It is a signal that the process of vascular aging may predispose the brain to increased amyloid plaque buildup," says the leading researcher of the study Dr Timothy Hughes. “Plaque builds with age and appears to worsen in those with stiffer arteries. Finding and preventing the causes of plaque buildup is going to be an essential factor in the prevention of Alzheimer's disease and extending brain health throughout life," Dr Hughes adds.

Other studies have also shown that in addition to heart disease and diabetes, other factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, drinking and smoking could increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease. According to researchers, “The analysis of data from more than 1,600 adults in the Dallas Heart Study showed that alcohol use and diabetes were associated with smaller total brain volume. Smoking and obesity, meanwhile, were associated with reduced volume in the posterior cingulate cortex, which is involved with memory retrieval, and emotional and social behavior. Alcohol use and smoking were linked with reduced volume in the hippocampus, and obesity and high fasting blood sugar levels were associated with reduced precuneus size”.

    7. Avoid gluten (in particular wheat) and reduce your calorie consumption:

Researchers suggest the gluten in wheat can promote autoimmune diseases and lead to leaky gut syndrome. Permeable gut allows protein to enter the blood stream and increase the risk of inflammation and Alzheimer's disease. According to Dr. Perlmutter, gluten sensitivity is involved in most diseases, in particular diseases that affect the brain such as Alzheimer's.

“This is because we all create something called zonulin in the intestine in response to gluten. This protein, found in wheat, barley and rye, makes your gut more permeable, which allows proteins to get into your bloodstream that would otherwise have been excluded. That then sensitizes your immune system and promotes inflammation and autoimmunity” says Dr Mercola.  

    8. Add spices such as saffron and turmeric in your diet and increase your intake of magnesium and folate in raw vegetables:

According to researchers, magnesium deficiency could increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease. Keep in mind that most magnesium supplements cannot reach the brain, however recent research shows magnesium L-threonate (brand name, Magtein) could help mild to moderate dementia in people. Beans, green leafy vegetables such as kale and organic raw cacao beans are great source of magnesium. Keep in mind that turmeric and saffron have anti-inflammatory compounds that can protect the body and the brain against oxidative stress.

    9. Cleanse your body on a regular basis to avoid accumulation of free radicals, toxins and heavy metals such as mercury or aluminum:

Perspiration is the best way to get rid of toxins and free radicals. Sauna or hot yoga can help to reduce the level of heavy metals in the body. Keep in mind that aluminum and non-stick cookware, and canned foods leak aluminum and accumulation of these toxins can lead to cognitive dysfunction. Thousands of consumer products such as deodorants, drugs (such as statins and anticholinergic), and vaccines have aluminum and mercury in them. 

    10. Exercise on a regular basis:

According to researchers, exercising on a regular basis could lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. "Based on the results we heard reported today at AAIC 2015, exercise or regular physical activity might play a role in both protecting your brain from Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, and also living better with the disease if you have it," says Maria Carrillo, chief science officer of the Alzheimer's Association. Other studies have also shown that regular workout could lower the risk of Amyloid buildup in the brain. Although amyloid isn't highly toxic on its own, its presence can trigger dementia and lead to plaque buildup in the brain. Researchers also suggest that aerobic exercise is neuroprotective and could enhance cognition and brain volume.

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