Fight Inflammation and Oxidative Stress
One of the best ways to prevent Alzheimer’s from developing is to reduce inflammation and oxidation - and, one of the easiest ways to do this is by watching what you eat.
Our diet can either help us or hinder us. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables will be rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, vitamins, and minerals that help to promote good health. Conversely, a diet filled with processed foods, inflammatory oils and sugar can promote disease.
Foods to Avoid
These are some foods that you should avoid if you want to stay in good health.
Sugars. Sugar has long been known to cause inflammation and is nothing more than sweet tasting empty calories. (19) If you must sweeten your tea coffee, try to use sweeteners with a lower Glycimex index like honey or natural sweeteners like Stevia and Xylitol. Avoid anything with glucose, corn syrup, or high-fructose corn syrup.
Processed foods. Highly processed foods are generally devoid of nutrients and filled with unhealthy compounds that can cause inflammation and oxidation.
Artificial trans-fats. Artificial trans-fats like margarine are linked to inflammation and disease. (20)
Vegetable oils. While soybean oil and canola oil may seem like healthier alternatives when compared to artificial trans-fats, they’re not risk-free. Vegetable oils often contain high levels of omega-6 fatty acids and are prone to oxidisation. Excessive intake of omega-6 fats can lead to inflammation without the right balance of Omega 3. (21)
Foods to Enjoy
These foods will help to keep your brain healthy and slow the development of Alzheimer’s.
Antioxidants aren’t food. Rather, they’re a type of molecule found within various types of food. Antioxidants help to prevent oxidation and thus help to reduce the onset of various diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.
Antioxidants can be found in abundance in fresh fruits and vegetables. Eating the rainbow of different coloured food is a great way to ensure you are getting a good range of antioxidants in your diet. Blueberries, Red Peppers, Green Spinach, Purple Beetroot, Orange Turmeric etc.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are incredibly important. Omega-3 deficiencies have been linked to brain dysfunction and the development of brain disease. (22)
Omega-3 fatty acids also play a big role in regulating our mental health. Some studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may have a potential role in managing degenerative mental health. (23)
Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in foods like oily fish, avocados, shellfish and grass fed dairy products. It can also be obtained from some seeds like hemp and Chia.
While there isn’t enough conclusive evidence to point to turmeric as a treatment for Alzheimer’s, the current research is promising. It’s also interesting to note that India has one of the lowest Alzheimer's rates and they commonly consume between 1g-3g of turmeric per day.
Turmeric is widely recognized for its inflammation-fighting abilities. It has shown powerful anti-inflammatory benefits and is considered as a potential substance for helping to improve symptoms of heart disease, neurodegenerative conditions, and immune disease. (24)
Turmeric has also been shown to help prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol in animals. (25) High levels of LDL cholesterol and oxidation have both been linked to Alzheimer’s.
Research has shown that curcumin, the active ingredient found in turmeric, can help to protect against amyloid-beta. (26) It has also been shown to help reduce the size of amyloid-beta plaques in animal models. (27)
Turmeric has also been shown to help improve memory in people of all ages. (28) Scientists are not yet sure how this mechanism works but it is a growing area of research.
It’s always good to end on a positive note!
Red wine might be the last thing that you’d expect to see on this list. Regardless, red wine has shown some potential for improving memory and fighting oxidation in patients with Alzheimer’s.
This is because red wine contains a highly potent antioxidant known as resveratrol. This antioxidant has been shown to help reduce the development of amyloid plaques. (29)
Moderation is key when it comes to alcohol but if you enjoy winding down with the occasional glass of red then you’re already on the right track!
Alzheimer’s disease is on the rise but there are many things you can do to protect yourself!
It really comes back to the basics of health.
-Eat fresh food with minimal processing
-Exercise your body and mind daily
-Make sure you get enough sleep