There are ten different forms of dementia. Each one has slightly different symptoms but each has the common factor of painful memory loss. The most common cases among dementia is Alzheimer. The statistics are staggering. In America there are currently 5.4 million Alzheimer’s disease patients with that number poised to double by the year 2030. The lifestyles we live and the changing diets that lead away from natural foods are the main cause of these rising numbers. There may not be a miracle cure for dementia, but there are changes that we can make today to prevent it and keep our brain healthy.
The hippocampus, named for its resemblance to the seahorse, is a major component of the brain. Each of us has two hippocampus one in each side of the brain. It plays a big role in the consolidation of information, locking onto memory and spatial navigation. When the brains memory center, the hippocampus, starts to shrink it affects short-term as well as long-term memory. In Alzheimer’s disease, the hippocampus is one of the first regions of the brain to suffer damage. Memory loss and disorientation are included among the early symptoms. Tau proteins are found mostly in the brain, but some are also in the central nervous system. Tau proteins provide stability and flexibility to the axons in the neurons. In the Alzheimer brain, tau doesn’t break down properly. The broken strands of protein clump and tangle together, like balls of string. It affects the cells around it, spreading and creating more dysfunction. In Alzheimer’s, Tau tangles destroy nerve cells that are critical for memory, before spreading to other areas. If the rest of the body and gut are not working properly, those toxins will cycle back or into other areas of the body.
Data shows that people with lower blood sugar levels have a lower risk for dementia. The way that we can do so is to have a lower-carb, higher-fat diet.
Whole grains also increase the risk of dementia. When you take a look at the glycemic index of whole-grain bread, for example, it is extremely high: 72-74, which is higher than white bread and even higher than a lot of candy bars. The glycemic index measures what blood sugar is between 90 and 120 minutes after eating a certain food. High blood sugar becomes an issue with how long your blood sugar remains elevated.
In the early 19th century, Americans consumed just over 6 pounds of sugar each year. That figure now exceeds 100 pounds. There has also been a dramatic reduction in the consumption of healthful fats. This helps to explain the growing number of dementia cases and the reason why it will only increase with the upcoming years.
Gluten-containing foods stimulate inflammatory reactions in a significant number of people. This can lead to increased blood/brain barrier permeability.
Keep your brain healthy and happy!
Reduce carbohydrate intake. It is recommended to try to keep the total carbohydrate 60-80 grams per day. This means favoring vegetables that grow above ground like kale, broccoli, spinach, and cauliflower instead of those that store carbohydrates in the form of starch like beets and potatoes. Limit fruit and be extra careful with things like fruit juice. As an example, a single 12 ounce glass of orange juice contains 36 grams of sugar alone. That is about 9 teaspoons of sugar.
Eat more healthy fats. Healthy fats are commonly found in extra virgin olive oil, avocado, grass-fed beef, wild caught fish, coconut oil, nuts and seeds. Also remember that modified fats like hydrogenated or trans fats are the worst choices for brain health. Some different cooking oils like corn oil and soy oil are processed to stay good on the shelf for months or even years. These are not good for brain health. The types of meat that people are eating come from animals that have been fed genetically modified corn and soy.
Have at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise every day. Aerobic exercise activates the DNA that turns on the growth of the hippocampus, not only preserving, but actually enhancing memory function.
Include nutritional supplement providing approximately 1,000 mg of the omega-3 DHA to your daily supplements. Just like aerobic exercise, DHA activates the pathway that enhances growth of new brain cells where it is needed most – in the memory center.
The brain is desperate for lots of leafy green vegetables, colorful vegetables and bringing back those good fats. Try moving the meat, chicken, and fish away from being the main dish of every meal and instead have them as the side dish. Small amounts are the best.
For more information on Brain Health, visit Dr. David Perlmutter’s website at www.drperlmutter.com