Alzheimer’s disease, a neurological disorder, can make your brain shrink or brain cells die over the period of time. The person suffering from this disease may initially start forgetting everyday events, recent conversations and misplace things. In its more advanced stages, one may have difficulty recognizing family members or close friends, lose their ability to communicate eventually, sleep more and more, and would be unable to operate on their own.
Causes of Alzheimer’s
“Scientists don’t yet fully understand what causes Alzheimer’s disease in most people. The causes probably include a combination of age-related changes in the brain, along with genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors,” according o NIH National Institute on Aging (NIA).
Old age is one of the most crucial risk factors for the disease. “The number of people with Alzheimer’s disease doubles about every 5 years beyond age 65. About one-third of all people age 85 and older may have Alzheimer’s disease,” says the NIA report.
While the disease cannot be treated and it is a progressive neurological disorder, with the right nutrition, its onset can be delayed.
“It has been researched that nutrition and wholesome dietary patterns have a helpful impact on brain functioning. Hence, attuning your consumption habits through mind-boosting foods can facilitate in reducing inflammation, thus safeguarding your brain,” says Dr. Siddhant Bhargava, Fitness and Nutritional Scientist, Co-Founder- Food Darzee.
Diet for Alzheimer’s Disease
Mediterranean and DASH a combination of two diets is believed to prevent or slow brain decline. Researches and studies reveal that consuming a Mediterranean diet can majorly reduce the risk of decline from cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. Brain-healthy edibles like plenty of vegetables, beans, whole grains, fish, and olive oil and limited processed edibles should definitely be a part of your diet.
Dr. Bhargava & Luke Coutinho, Holistic Lifestyle Coach – Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine and Founder of YouCare – All about YOU by Luke Coutinho, recommend following foods for keeping Alzheimer’s Disease at bay:
Greens like kale and spinach: Eating fruits and veggies like green leafy vegetables, berries, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower will maximize protective antioxidants and vitamins that work well for your brain.
Nuts and berries: Nuts and berries are ideal snacks that have been associated with better brain well-being. Blueberries and strawberries have a major role to play in keeping your brain functioning at its best and may help slow down signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
Omega 3 fatty acids: Getting plenty of omega-3 fats will help recover brain health. This is because the DHA present in these healthy fats will reduce beta-amyloid plaque, thus preventing Alzheimer’s. Food sources rich in these fats include cold-water fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, seaweed, and sardines, while one can also consider supplementing with fish oil.
Ghee or coconut oil + turmeric + black pepper combo: The usage of curcumin (turmeric) with piperine (black pepper) coupled with a good fat like cold-pressed virgin coconut oil or pure ghee or pure extra virgin olive oil works extremely well for brain health.
Good quality black coffee or Dark chocolate (>75%)
Beetroots: Rich in nitrates it acts as a vasodilator thereby increasing blood flow towards the brain.
Selenium in supplements form or via selenium-rich foods like Brazil nuts, eggs, chicken, beef, sunflower seeds, cashew nuts, spinach, oats, dairy, bananas, etc
Angiogenesis rich foods like dark chocolate, turmeric, green and black tea, matcha tea, cruciferous veggies, berries, pomegranate, lean protein, etc.
Dr Bhargava and Coutinho also suggests foods to avoid for preventing Alzheimer’s disease
Refined white sugar: It is essential to cut down on the intake of refined sugar particularly those present in processed foods, instead opt for healthier options like fruits.
Refined oils and processed oils, especially those with an unbalanced omega 3 and 6 ratio must be avoided. Alzheimer’s patients must consider limiting foods that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol like butter or fatty cuts of meats.
High-salt diet: A diet high in salt may fasten cognitive decline by destabilizing levels of the protein tau. Extreme tau levels are a hallmark of dementia. As an alternative, it is recommended to make use of spices or herbs to season food.
Dairy and wheat: Especially if the inflammatory markers are high because eating these can further aggravate it. Additionally, our gut and brain are intricately connected, and so if eating gluten triggers symptoms in your gut, it might also be affecting your brain health. So, go easy on these two items.
All inflammatory foods including processed meats, excess alcohol, and smoking.