Anyone who has read Jack Weaver’s memoir will realize the magnitude of Alzheimer’s disease, which does not only steal one’s memory but also shortens his/her life span. Anyone who thinks he/she could prevent the disease early on or lower their risk for developing Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia will do everything they could to protect their learning memory and other cognitive functions, as well as extend their life span. If he/she had to prevent this progressively debilitating disease, they would start with food.
Eat more plant produce
It is said that people who eat more plant produce are at lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Make sure to include in your diet foods that are high in antioxidants and fiber and low in unhealthy fats. Eat lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, berries, and legumes (beans, peas, and lentils).
Foods that help keep your brain healthy include green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli. These green leafy vegetables contain antioxidants (that reduce cell damage and inflammation), vitamin K (which forming sphingolipids, a type of fat in the brain that is essential for brain development), and powerful plant compounds that protect the brain against damage and slow down brain aging.
According to studies, eating vitamin C-rich foods can also help reduce one’s risk for Alzheimer’s disease and protect against age-related mental decline. According to the National Institutes of Health, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that fights off free radicals that can damage brain cells. You can get excellent amounts of vitamin C from oranges, guava, pomegranates, and plums.
Foods that also provide numerous brain health benefits include:
- Berries (rich in flavonoid antioxidants that help improve communication between brain cells and delay age-related neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive decline, among other functions)
- Avocado (rich in unsaturated fat that helps lower the risk of cognitive decline by reducing high blood pressure)
- Whole grains, nuts and seeds (excellent sources of vitamin E that protect cells from damage caused by free radicals)
Get more brain-healthy Omega-3
Your brain requires omega-3 oils to build (and repair) brain and nerve cells. Omega-3 fatty acids are the building block of the brain and essential for learning, memory, and normal brain function and development. They help sharpen your memory, improve your mood, slow down age-related mental decline, and reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
Taking sufficient omega-3 is associated with better thinking abilities, improved memory, and improved mood. However, dietary deficiencies of omega-3 fatty acids are associated with anxiety, depression, memory loss, and dementia, among others.
Fatty fish is an excellent source of omega-3 oils, such as salmon, tuna, and sardines. You can also get omega-3 from walnuts, soybeans, flax, and other oilseeds and nuts.
Avoid certain foods
Of course, there are also foods that could increase your risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. A diet consisting of sugary snacks, starchy foods, and processed foods stimulates the production of toxins that can lead to the build-up of plaques that cause Alzheimer’s disease. These foods induce memory loss.
For the sake of your brain health and overall health, avoid these foods:
- Processed meats, such as sausages, hot dogs, bacon, and smoked meats (consumption of these foods produce fats that are toxic to the brain)
- Dairy products, such as processed cheeses and mozzarella sticks (these foods build up proteins that have been associated with Alzheimer’s disease)
- White foods, including white bread, white flour, white rice, white sugar, and pasta
- Snacks, pastries, and fried foods (they contain trans fats)
- Coconut and palms oils (they contain saturated fat)
- Margarine, microwave popcorn, beer and other foods that contain diacetyl or nitrate (these chemicals have been associated with Alzheimer’s disease)
Add extra virgin olive oil to your food
According to researchers at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, extra virgin olive oil protects memory and learning ability and reduces brain inflammation. The consumption of extra virgin olive oil, a major component of the Mediterranean diet, protects against cognitive decline and improves brain function.
The consumption of extra virgin olive oil helps activate autophagy, a process by which the cells break down and remove intracellular debris and toxins, such as amyloid-beta plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, which are the classic markers of Alzheimer’s disease, in the brain cells.
Extra virgin olive oil has been proven to have numerous health benefits. It contains plenty of monounsaturated fatty acids and powerful antioxidants, as well as a decent amount of vitamins K and E.