Alzheimer’s disease often begins with what appears to be simple forgetfulness, but it wreaks much more havoc over time, destroying speech, comprehension, and coordination and causing restlessness and dramatic mood swings. Alzheimer’s Australia states that one in four people over the age of 85 will be affected, and we all hope we won’t be one of them. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, new research suggests the right diet may delay the onset of the disease or lower your risk by as much as 40%. So, isn’t a diet change worth it?
Omega-3 fatty acids
Research has linked high intake of Omega-3s to a possible reduction in risk of dementia or cognitive decline. The chief omega-3 in the brain is DHA, which is found in the fatty membranes that surround nerve cells, especially at the microscopic junctions.
The famously heart healthy Mediterranean diet contains many foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty fish such as Salmon, Herring and White Tuna, Walnuts, Flaxseed and Olive Oil are all high in Omega-3.
Foods rich in vitamins C and E
Epidemiologic studies have suggested that a high dietary intake of foods rich in vitamin E and vitamin C is associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Research indicates that the damage to the brain that occurs in Alzheimer’s, stroke and Parkinson’s is due in part to biochemical compounds called free radicals. Vitamins E and C trap these harmful compounds.
Vegetables and fruit such as Red Peppers, Currents, Broccoli and Strawberries, Olive Oil and Almonds are all high in these preventative vitamins.
One of the natural therapeutic approaches Scientists have been exploring is curcumin, a spice compound extracted from the rootstalks of the turmeric plant that gives curry its yellow colour and pungent flavour. Based on its proven anti- inflammatory action, it isn’t difficult to believe that it has an effect on Alzheimer’s, which some theories suggest may be caused by an inflammatory process, or have secondary inflammation as an effect.
After an analysis of research since 1977, it has been determined that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol, especially wine, may lower the risk of dementia which often leads to severe Alzheimer’s disease. Although too much increases the risk so balance is necessary.
Wine is the primary dietary source of resveratrol, and red wine contains much greater amounts of resveratrol than does white wine. Resveratrol, found in wine at fairly high levels, is a naturally occurring antioxidant that decreases the stickiness of blood platelets and helps blood vessels remain open and flexible. It is also known that it inhibits the enzymes that can stimulate cancer cell growth and suppress immune response.
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