Can Diet Prevent Alzheimer’s?

Can Diet Prevent Alzheimer’s?
What’s old is new again concerning Alzheimer’s research. Since Alzheimer’s sets its roots in the brain decades before it manifests, too late for a cure, the goal is to prevent the disease, especially in young people. New research focuses on diet. And I wish to add that when diet is part of the equation, exercise and stress management follow swiftly.

According to the Proceedings of the Feb. 24 National Academy of Sciences a diet consisting of advanced glycation end products increases beta-amyloid plaques in mouse brains. What this means: Foods like meat, which are cooked in high heat as in barbecuing, grilling or frying, and dairy products which are pasteurized or sterilized. When you consider a lifetime of eating, humans tend to eat a lot of these unhealthy compounds. Think of your love affair with milk, cheese and backyard barbecues.

Moreover, advanced glycation end products produce inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is bad for the body and the brain. Senior researcher Dr. Helen Vlassara of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City explains, "We ingest these toxins in huge amounts over a lifetime. The problem is that accumulating advanced glycation end products can promote chronic inflammation in the body. And that type of persistent, low-level inflammation is implicated in many disease processes, including Alzheimer's.”

More controlled studies are needed, but what does this mean for you today?
  • Don’t wait to adhere to a healthier Mediterranean Diet until what is happening to mice translates to people. Eat and live more naturally.
  • Alter your cooking style. Apparently, high dry heat releases these toxic compounds. Lower the heat and steam or poach food. I studied health in college and learned barbecued meats were carcinogenic and that was way back in the 1970s!
  • Don’t take supplements unless you need them. For example, your doctor tested your blood and alerted you to a vitamin B12 deficiency. Some supplements are unhealthy and interfere with natural metabolism.
  • Do increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. No one knows how to duplicate the benefits of broccoli in a pill!
  • Clearly, chronic stress causes an unhealthy inflammation. Inflammation leads to disease, frailty and cognitive impairment. Compared to contracting Alzheimer’s, it’s all small stuff! Reframe the facts with a more positive interpretation. Cutting other people slack, means you can let the aggravation go which makes you feel better. Make your mantra: “So what!”
  • Exercise possesses a power punch: To move damaging stress hormones out of the body and to generate neuroplasticity in the brain. Both aerobics and stress strength training improve brain function differently. Doing a bit of both hedges your bets.

For more information on managing your stress and reclaiming your life read my book, Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life. To listen to archived radio shows with guest experts visit Turn On Your Inner Light Radio Show

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