Alzheimerís is a devastating disease that affects the whole family. It can start with such benign symptoms as using a wrong word, and not realizing it, or getting lost of the way to some place they have been a hundred times. From that point on friends and family watch with fear not knowing what strange thing the person will do next. To the patient itís just common sense to put the plastic coffee maker on the stove and turn it on high. To the family the person is purposely trying to burn the house down.
There is some evidence that this disease, if you want to call it that, runs in families. The evidence isnít clear if this is because of the genetic makeup or the cultural habits of the family. We canít change our genes, what we can change is our habits. Family members, especially children of Alzheimerís victims can change the habits that contribute to Alzheimerís. This is true if it is the genetic structure or the habits themselves that are causing the problems.
Diet plays an important role in Alzheimerís prevention. There is strong evidence that the human brain needs good fats in order to stay healthy. The Mediterranean style diet helps in that capacity, but hurts in others. A Paleo style diet looks like it could be an even better fit. The difference between the two is the grain consumption. Modern grains are showing evidence of causing the type of inflammation that is linked to the Alzheimerís tangles in the brain. What they both have in common is the good fats they encourage. These fats include the ever popular Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), organic grass fed butter, and coconut oil. There is some evidence that four tablespoons of coconut oil a day can actually reverse the symptoms.
The coconut oil may act like the olive oil did in one recent study. Using mice they studied the effects of increasing the olive oil in their diets. They surmised that it was substance oleocanthal they found in the olive oil that seemed to protect the brain cells. They noticed that is substance boosted production of two proteins and key enzymes believed to be critical in removing amyloid-beta from the brain. It is important to note that this study used cold-pressed EVOO, and not 'light' olive oil that has been refined to reduce the critical polyphenols that characterize the oil. Incorporate one to two tablespoons of EVOO daily to halt Alzheimer's disease progression it its tracks. It is also important to note that the olive oil was not used in cooking. Heating the oil quickly turns it rancid, and a rancid oil is toxic to the body.
The B vitamins, especially B12 are showing great promise in both preventing and reversing the symptoms as well. These can be supplemented with natural sourced dietary supplements and well as increasing the natural intake through foods. Even though leafy green vegetables, beans and peas provide B vitamins there is strong evidence that the vegetarian diet does not provide enough B12 on its own. Those adhering to the vegan or vegetarian diet should seriously consider supplementation. The most common foods to eat are meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products and wild-caught fish. Just be sure of your sources, because commercially grown versions are severely deficient in these vitamins. If there is a strong family presence an ounce of prevention through supplementation may help you sleep at night.
In addition to the B vitamins a simple and tasty spice is showing promise in protecting the brain. Cinnamon has long been hailed as a natural product for blood sugar stabilization. There is more and more evidence that by stabilizing the blood sugar you are protecting the brain from oxidative damage. The theory is that somehow that oxidative damage causes the fibroid plaques to build up, like a band aid on a scratch. Studies are also showing a huge correlation between those that have diabetes and those that have Alzheimerís. Some are even beginning to call Alzheimerís Diabetes type III.
Other natural nutrients (curcumin, resveratrol, vitamin D3) have been identified by researchers over the past decade that effectively cross the blood-brain barrier to counteract reduced brain volume and naturally clear protein clumps that threaten memory retention and normal cognitive well being. Curcumin and resveratrol are well known as antioxidants. Other natural forms of antioxidants probably work in the same way. Having high levels of antioxidants reduce other signs of aging as well. Getting adequate vitamin D3 has been linked to the prevention of almost all chronic illness. It seems that this is one substance the human body cannot live without.
Other things you can do to prevent Alzheimerís is to avoid processed and fake foods. The low fat and high sugar foods have been strongly linked to the inflammation that is being recognized as a precursor to Alzheimerís. Getting adequate exercise is also being seen as a key component in prevention. Short bursts of intense exercise seem to do more for both the physical and mental health of a person than any other form. This is good news for us with busy lifestyles. We can get our exercise without having to give up precious time in our busy schedules.
Those of us with strong family ties to Alzheimerís canít guarantee that we wonít follow in the steps of our mother, father, aunt, uncle or grandparents. What we can do is to make sure that our lifestyles contribute to the prevention of this disease. If it turns out that it is truly the smoking gun of genetics we will have at least delayed the onset and giving ourselves more healthy years in our lives. Isnít that the true goal of healthy living? It just makes sense to strive for more life in your years rather than just more years in your life.
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