Tuesday, April 16, 2024

THE DIET THAT REDUCES THE RISK OF ALZHEIMER

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How important is the role of nutrition in the prevention of Alzheimer’s? Are there foods that can reduce the chances of developing the disease?

When clinical psychiatrist and neuroanatomist Alois Alzheimer spoke at the 37th Southwest German Psychiatrists’ Meeting about a peculiar severe disease of the cerebral cortex in November 1906, he probably had no idea what was to come. Estimates today show that approximately 32 million people have Alzheimer’s disease and another 315 million show preclinical signs. In fact, according to scientists, rates tend to increase in nations as they transition to a Western-style diet . For example, a publication in the journal Aging Research Reviews (September 2021) states that a “Western diet may accelerate and enhance inflammation and the induction of Alzheimer’s disease .”

Proper nutrition, therefore, can help reduce the risk of developing the disease. Which diet? American scientists come to answer this question with a study they publish in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Diseases e. The study concludes that diets that emphasize plant foods , such as the Mediterranean diet or the traditional diet followed in China, Japan and India, appear to reduce the risk of the disease, especially compared to the more processed Western-style diet. .

The characteristics of the right diet for Alzheimer’s

Following a nutritious diet can halve the risk of developing the disease . Key elements of such a diet are a high intake of folic acid, vitamins E and C, and fish . The Mediterranean diet, the DASH and MIND diets (which figure in the top three best diets for 2024 ), and rice-based diets are great examples related to preventing the risk of dementia, as they are rich in antioxidants , anti-inflammatory substances and good fats.

On the other hand, certain foods increase the risk of dementia . For example, meat consumption has been found to increase it, increasing risk factors  such as inflammation , insulin resistance, oxidative stress , etc. Highly processed foods have also been linked to increased rates of obesity and diabetes, which are risk factors for the disease.

Meanwhile, poverty is another important factor , because highly processed foods and meat are cheaper sources of energy than fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other more nutritious foods.

 

nutrition and Alzheimer's

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The best foods for the brain

A diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains—rather than meat (especially red), saturated fat, and highly processed foods— is associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s . The above publication shows that the increasing trend of obesity due to the consumption of these particular foods is the driving force behind dementia. Experts, in fact, mention specific foods that can benefit. What are these;

  • Blueberries & red grapes
  • Coffee
  • Fish (especially ocean)
  • Fruits & vegetables with yellow, orange, red, violet and blue color
  • Garlic
  • Legumes
  • Nuts (almond, hazelnut, walnut)
  • Olive oil
  • Peppers
  • Turmeric
  • Vegetables, cruciferous & leafy greens
  • Whole grain foods.

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