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Is There a Link Between Diet and Alzheimer’s

The issue of diet and Alzheimer’s disease has been garnering more attention in recent months. Dementia researchers have been trying to determine the role food choices may have on the development of Alzheimer’s for over a decade. Now that many of the clinical trials have matured, scientists are sharing their preliminary findings. In general, they fall in to two broad categories. There are the good foods that boost brain power and bad foods that increase the inflammation that may contribute to the development Alzheimer’s disease.

Foods that Boost Brain Power

Researchers believe the foods commonly found in a Mediterranean-style diet can help keep your brain healthy. They include plant-based foods, nuts, coconut and olive oils, lean meats and fish.

Suggestions to incorporate in to your diet include:

  • Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, turnips, broccoli and romaine
  • Cold water fish including salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines
  • Dark chocolate, coffee and other foods rich in Flavonols
  • Walnuts, almonds, pistachios, peanuts and flax seed

Inflammation-friendly Food Choices

The other way our food choices are believed to impact Alzheimer’s disease is by creating inflammation. Plaques of the brain that are associated with Alzheimer’s have been linked back to it.

These are the foods experts tell us to avoid or consume in very limited quantities to prevent inflammation:

  • Foods with high white flour content such as white bread, white rice, and pasta
  • Processed food especially meats and cheeses
  • Dietary choices that are high in white sugar
  • Foods containing nitrates or diacetyl such as pepperoni, bacon, hot dogs, beer and microwave popcorn

There are also a growing number of medical doctors and researchers who believe carbs of almost any kind contribute to a “wheat brain effect” that is harmful on many levels, including brain health. They hypothesize that these foods can cause a rollercoaster with blood sugar levels. The resulting highs and lows have been linked to inflammation. Foods that can help decrease inflammation are blueberries, plums, strawberries, blackberries, tomatoes, peppers, beets and apples.

If you are interested in learning more, Adopting a Healthy Brain Diet from the Alzheimer’s Association may be of interest.

Has this blog made you re-think your current diet? 

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