New Super Foods for Alzheimer's Prevention

New Super Foods for Alzheimer's Prevention
Alzheimer’s research is giving us some food for thought. The Mediterranean diet is heart smart and has been lauded as preventing Alzheimer’s because whatever is heart smart is most likely brain smart. Then later research has come along claiming that while the Mediterranean food plan is healthy and great for the heart, the link to Alzheimer’s prevention has not yet been proven. However, a couple of new foods are being studied for their potent possibilities in dementia prevention and you might want to add one of them to your diet.

A new study from researchers at Wake Forest University suggests that a daily dose of beet juice boosts blood flow to the brain, keeping the mind sharp and potentially preventing dementia as one ages. Beet juice is rich in nitrate. The body turns nitrate into nitrite, which opens up blood vessels to improve blood flow. “There are areas in the brain that become poorly perfused as you age, and that’s believed to be associated with dementia and poor cognition,” said Daniel Kim-Shapiro, director of Wake Forest University. He also adds that high concentrations of nitrates are found in beets, as well as in celery, cabbage and other leafy green vegetables like spinach and some lettuce.

Meanwhile at the University of South Carolina a neuroscientist, Dr. Rose Booze, is researching an extract from licorice root which could prevent Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. The extract is called, liquiritigenin. "We're interested in a specific form of licorice which is only found in the high mountains of China," Booze explains. She is studying an ancient Chinese medicinal recipe and trying to extract its most active ingredient. Licorice root is in the phytoestrogen family, a plant that mimics the hormone estrogen. Enthusiastically Booze claims that “Plants are amazing chemists.” She continues to assert that what phytoestrogens do cannot be duplicated in the lab. The NIH has given her a grant to test this licorice extract’s efficacy for dementia. However, don’t go buying licorice candy – keep in mind this a plant extract.

As long as you are contemplating a diet rich in plants and vegetables, keep in mind the power of curry or turmeric. Shake it on liberally as a seasoning when cooking. It is being studied in Alzheimer’s prevention as well.

As long as you are eating healthy, keep on exercising: cardio, strength training and flexibility. Exercise promotes neuroplasticity, enhances synaptic connections and creates new brain cells.

Both healthy eating and exercise promote good side effects.
For more information on caregiving read my book, Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout. To listen to archived radio shows with guest experts visit Turn On Your Inner Light Radio Show

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