Prevent brain degeneration with the right food

With an extended human life span and an increasing senile world population, the problem of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is becoming a major concern. Memory loss and inability to communicate, among other symptoms, isolate the patient from the rest of the world while at the same time make it fully dependant on the support of others. It is estimated that by 2050 there will be more than 1/4 billion people over the age of 80. Alzheimer’s dementia manifests in people 65 and older, and more women than men are affected by it.

Science has been researching the issues regarding this debilitating condition to find the causes and design treatments for the people suffering from it, and indicate a preventive lifestyle to avoid falling into the category of the fully assisted, mentally-impaired third age population. The results from such studies show that systemic inflammation, obesity, fat around the waist, free radicals, toxic metals like Al, Fe, Zn, high blood cholesterol, high blood sugar levels, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, low vitamin Bs (especially folic acid, B6 and B12), low level of vitamin D, use of hormone replacement therapy are all implicated in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

These are all factors that are strongly related to our food habits and lifestyle. Daily exercising and eating a proper healthy diet that prevents high blood cholesterol, fats and sugars along with inflammation, i.e. leading a lifestyle that prevents cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity, means that you would be protected also from the risk of falling prey of Alzheimer’s disease.

So do your 30 minutes of physical exercise every day (fast walking, running, swimming, bike riding, weight lifting, yoga, etc.) and eat the proper food for your body and brain:

  • Avoid refined sugars, that are pro-inflammatory and increase blood sugar levels, leading to a cascade of negative health issues,

  • Minimize consumption of animal meat: pork, lamb, beef, that increase cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and are highly related to colorectal cancer

  • Increase consumption of fish, protector of the brain and anti-inflammatory, especially cold water, omega 3-high fish like salmon and sardines

  • Increase the consumption of whole grains and fibres to provide energy and fibres for proper elimination and help lowering blood cholesterol,

  • Eat large amounts of vegetables and fruits, providing essential vitamins and minerals for proper metabolic functioning and detoxification processes,

  • Consume the right fats: cholesterol-lowering coconut oil, and anti-oxidant raw: extra virgin olive oil, rice bran oil, flax seed oil

  • Add health boosters like blueberries (strongly anti-oxidant), turmeric (as a tasting, anti-inflammatory spice to add to your fish and vegetables), green tea (anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer)

  • A glass or two of wine, containing the highly anti-oxidant resveratrol

  • Supplement your diet with mercury-free fish oils (3 g/day of DHA/EPA; replaceable by flax seeds and walnuts, although after a certain age this would not be sufficient), vitamn B complex, vitamin C, vitamin E (the stronger anti-oxidants)

  • Drink 8 glasses of water a day to help flush the body from toxins, and hydrate all tissues

  • Expose yourself to the sun, at least 30 minutes a day. Sun is not only the direct means to obtain the anticancerogenic, anti-inflammatory, immune system-boosting, bone-protecting effect of vitamin D, but it also helps to produce nitric oxyde fom the skin, protecting arteries from clogging.

So eat well, breathe, walk in the sun, drink copiusly! and keep your brain active with work, games, engaging reading, challenging intellectual efforts, and stimulating discussions.

References

2015 Richard Weller, Shunning the sun may be killing you in more ways than you think, The New Scientist, 15 June

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