Hadley’s Intro: Avoid 4 foods in your 20’s-60’s to prevent Alzheimers and dementia. See what to eat instead to maintain mental clarity and youthful vitality in this healthy diet news by America’s Wellness Expert–Dr. Joseph Mercola
By Dr. Mercola:
Since there’s no conventional cure for dementia, the issue of prevention is absolutely critical. Evidence points to lifestyle factors as the driving forces behind dementia, and fat avoidance and carbohydrate over consumption are at the heart of it, as Dr. Perlmutter discusses in the interview above. The following list of basic nutritional strategies will help keep your brain healthy as you age:
* Avoid sugar and refined fructose. Ideally, you’ll want to keep your sugar levels to a minimum, with your total fructose below 25 grams per day, or as low as 15 grams per day if you have insulin/leptin resistance. Avoid all artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame, which studies have linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
* Avoid gluten and casein (primarily wheat and pasteurized dairy, but not dairy fat, such as butter). Research shows that gluten adversely affects your blood-brain barrier and makes your gut more permeable, which promotes inflammation and immune dysfunction, and both of these are believed to play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
* Optimize your gut flora by regularly eating fermented foods.
* Increase consumption of healthy fats, including animal-based omega-3 fats. Make sure you’re getting enough omega-3 fats, such as wild-caught Alaskan salmon, sardines, and krill oil, which helps protect your brain.
* Reduce your overall calorie consumption, and/or fast intermittently. Intermittent fasting is a powerful tool to jumpstart your body into remembering how to burn fat and repair the insulin/leptin resistance that’s a primary factor in the development of Alzheimer’s.
* Improve your magnesium level. Preliminary research suggests increased magnesium levels in the brain may result in decreased Alzheimer’s symptoms. Unfortunately, most magnesium supplements do not cross the blood-brain barrier, but magnesium threonate appears to cross so it may be superior to other forms.
* Eat a nutritious diet, rich in folate and zinc. Without question, fresh vegetables are the best form of folate. Avoid taking a folic acid supplement, which is the inferior and synthetic version of folate. Research suggests zinc deficiency can contribute to Alzheimer’s by promoting the accumulation of defective proteins in your brain, which is one of the hallmarks of the disease.
* Avoid environmental toxins and chemicals as much as possible. The rise in Alzheimer’s disease may be related to genetically engineered foods and how they’re grown; herbicides like glyphosate are mineral chelators, binding up important nutrients, such as zinc.
Other Lifestyle Guidelines That Help Protect Your Brain
Besides diet, there are a number of other lifestyle factors that affect your neurological health. To minimize your risk for developing dementia, make sure you address the following:
* Regular exercise AND minimize sitting. Exercise supports your brain by helping it produce new neurons, thereby helping prevent neural degeneration. Excess sitting is associated with an increased risk of many diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and neurological illnesses. Stand up and walk as often as possible, with a goal of walking 7,000 to 10,000 steps a day.
* Get plenty of restorative sleep. Recent studies indicate that poor sleeping habits cause brain damage and may accelerate the onset of Alzheimer’s.
* Manage your stress. Researchers have found that nearly three out of four Alzheimer’s patients experienced severe emotional stress during the two years preceding their diagnosis. One of my favorite stress-busting tools is EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique).
* Optimize your vitamin D levels with safe sun exposure. Keep your vitamin D level between 50-70 ng/ml, as there are strong links between insufficient vitamin D and Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin D may enhance important chemicals in your brain, protecting your brain cells by increasing the effectiveness of the glial cells in nursing damaged neurons back to health. Vitamin D may also benefit dementia by its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties.
* Eliminate mercury from your body. Dental amalgam fillings, which are 50 percent mercury by weight, are one of the major sources of heavy metal toxicity. Once you’ve optimized your diet, consider implementing a mercury detox protocol and then finding a biological dentist to safely remove your amalgams.
* Eliminate aluminum from your body. Many people with Alzheimer’s are found to have high aluminum levels in their brain. Sources of aluminum include antiperspirants, non-stick cookware, vaccine adjuvants, etc.
* Avoid flu vaccinations as most contain mercury and aluminum, which are well-known neurotoxic and immunotoxic agents.
* Avoid drugs—especially anticholinergics, statins, and benzodiazepines. Drugs that block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter, have been shown to increase your risk of dementia. These drugs include certain nighttime pain relievers, antihistamines, sleep aids, certain antidepressants, medications to control incontinence, and certain narcotic pain relievers.
Statin drugs are also problematic because they suppress the synthesis of cholesterol, deplete your brain of coenzyme Q10, and prevent adequate delivery of essential fatty acids and fat-soluble antioxidants to your brain. Studies show that adults who use benzodiazepines (Valium, Xanax, Ativan, etc.) for anxiety or insomnia are about 50 percent more likely to develop dementia, especially if used chronically.
* Challenge your mind daily. Mental stimulation—especially learning something new, such as learning to play an instrument or a new language—is associated with a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s.
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