Statistics indicate that one in nine seniors over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s. It is now being considered the third leading cause of death in our country after heart disease and cancer. In addition, smokers have a forty-five percent increased risk of developing dementia than non-smokers. Among other things, smoking increases homocysteine levels in the body, a known risk factor for cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s, and stroke.
Recent research suggests there’s a significant connection between diet and the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, as per Dr. David Perlmutter, a renowned neurologist whose expertise includes gluten issues, brain health & nutrition, and preventing neurodegenerative disorders. If you have diabetes, your risk of developing Alzheimer’s may double. Further information specifically shows that consuming too many carbohydrates and not enough healthy fats disrupts brain function and significantly contributes to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Over time, sugar can shrink the hippocampus (part of the brain involved in memory forming, organizing, storing, and connecting emotions and senses to memories), a distinct characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. It is due to this connection between diet and brain function that Alzheimer’s has been called “type 3 diabetes”. In 2005, researchers determined that not only did the pancreas produce insulin, but the brain also produces insulin – and this brain insulin is necessary for brain cell survival.
Strategies to Prevent Alzheimer’s
- Avoid sugar and refined fructose.
- Avoid gluten and casein – gluten is hard to digest and can cause leaky gut; leaky gut promotes inflammation and can trigger autoimmunity.
- Balance your intestinal flora – take a good quality probiotic and consume fermented foods
- Eat healthy fats – including organic grass-fed butter, ghee, organic coconut and virgin oils, organic and raw nuts and seeds, pastured eggs, avocado and wild-caught salmon.
- Eat lots of vegetables – veggies contain folate, a B vitamin crucial for brain function.
- Detox mercury and aluminum from body – dental amalgam fillings are a major source of mercury toxicity. Sources of aluminum include antiperspirants, non-stick cookware, and substances added to vaccines like aluminum gels or salts.
- Avoid taking drugs that are considered anticholinergics – these are found in certain night time pain relievers, antihistamines, sleep aids, antidepressants, medications to control incontinence, and certain narcotic pain relievers. Statin drugs are also a problem because they suppress cholesterol production, deplete the brain of coenzyme Q10 and neurotransmitter precursors, and prevent adequate delivery of essential fatty acids and fat-soluble antioxidants to your brain.
- Mental stimulation is good– particularly learning something new helps to enhance your brain function.
- Stress management – stress may trigger a degenerative process in the brain. Exercise, meditation, and other relaxation techniques are highly recommended as a means for a healthy emotional outlet.
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