Your diet can dictate your risk for many things. It can even help prevent certain diseases, like Type2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. It may even help prevent Alzheimer’s, but the study of diet and loss of mental abilities is still in its infancy. In fact, one important study on the eyes and diet actually laid the groundwork for future studies. Generally, they found that people who ate a Mediterranean style diet were less prone to have mental decline.
Inflammation plays a role in Alzheimer’s.
Inflammation also plays a role. Eating an anti-inflammatory, low glycemic diet is one way to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s. The fragments from amyloid-beta are considered one of Alzheimer’s main causes. They accumulate in the brain and cause the death of cells. Researchers found that proteins interacted with the g-secretase complex, specifically IFITM3, which is increased with inflammation. Reducing foods that cause inflammation may be one key.
Some scientists believe that Alzheimer’s is a form of diabetes that affects the brain.
Insulin resistance, type1 and type 2 diabetes all respond to exercise and a low glycemic diet. This type of diet and regular workouts not only lower the risk of diabetes, but also brain disease and dementia. Fighting diabetes and making the cells less resistant to insulin also includes eating healthy greens, adequate vitamin D, B12 and folate, plus omega-3. Lowering risk factors, such as diabetes, also helps prevent mental decline.
New studies have resulted in the MIND diet.
The MIND diet stands for the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. It’s based on many observational studies that showed lower glucose metabolism and higher beta-amyloid proteins are both present in people who had Alzheimer’s. These two factors were more prominent in people who did NOT follow the MIND diet. It consists of eating at least six servings of leafy greens each week, 2 servings of berries, at least one serving of another veggie, 3 servings a day of whole grain, 1 serving of fish weekly, 2 weekly servings of poultry, 3 weekly servings of beans, 5 servings of nuts, olive oil and one glass of wine a day. It eliminates or limits red meat, sweets, cheese, butter/margarine and fast foods or fried foods.
- The MIND diet is also an anti-inflammatory diet and low glucose, which means it focuses on several studies and potential causes of Alzheimer’s.
- After following the group studied for 4.5 years, the results showed that those who stayed on the MIND diet more closely, reduced their rate of Alzheimer’s by 53% compared to those who didn’t stick with the diet.
- Another study that compared groups following the MIND diet for almost five years showed it slowed cognitive decline substantially.
- Scientists aren’t sure why the MIND diet works, they simply know it does. It may be that it lowers cardiovascular risk or the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Supplementing with many of the nutrients hasn’t worked, it’s what you eat that makes the difference.
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