Nutrition is not just a diet, it is a way of life. Good nutrition can have a great impact on global health. Poor nutrition is the leading cause of many diseases like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, strokes, and certain types of cancers. Understanding ‘good nutrition’ is important in preventing many diseases and health conditions. One disease which takes a major toll on the patient as well as the caregiver is Alzheimer’s. It causes memory loss and disrupts cognitive abilities. In this article, we will discuss the 5 best superfoods to prevent Alzheimer’s, which are also easily available at any local supermarket.
Alzheimer’s Causes and Symptoms:
Alzheimer’s is serious enough to disrupt daily life. Though Alzheimer’s is generally seen in people who are 65 years or older, early-onset Alzheimer’s could occur in younger patients too. Individuals affected by Alzheimer’s lose the ability to respond properly to the environment. There is no current cure for the disease, but several medications are available to treat the symptoms. Several studies are being conducted worldwide to identify the causes of Alzheimer’s and symptom alleviation.
The most common causes of Alzheimer’s are aging, neuronal injury and loss, vascular compromise, amyloid deposition in the brain, inflammation, and compromised metabolism.
Superfoods to Prevent Alzheimer’s:
Scientists have identified certain foods as ‘brain boosters’. These are known as ‘superfoods’. Our brain requires a lot of essential nutrients to function properly. While some superfoods are available in the form of pills, it is always beneficial to take these in their natural form. These superfoods to prevent Alzheimer’s also protect against many other diseases too.
1. Healthy oils:
Two oils are particularly known to have preventative and protective effects against Alzheimer’s. They are easily the best superfoods to prevent Alzheimer’s.
- Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO): EVOO has several health-promoting effects. Studies have shown that EVOO is capable of protecting from and decreasing the risk of Alzheimer’s. One of the causes of Alzheimer’s is the accumulation of beta-amyloid in the brain. Long-term consumption of EVOO starting from an early age prevents beta-amyloid accumulation and provides a protective benefit against Alzheimer’s. Oleocanthal present in EVOO helps in the breakdown of the beta-amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s.
- Cold-pressed virgin coconut oil: Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides, also known as MCTs. Regular consumption of MCTs produces higher ketone levels in the blood. There is evidence that higher levels of ketones in the body are directly correlated to higher memory performance. Virgin coconut oil was also shown to improve the cognitive abilities of Alzheimer’s patients.
2. Leafy greens and other vegetables:
- Cruciferous vegetables are associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s. Cauliflower and broccoli are examples of such vegetables.
- Dark and leafy green vegetables such as spinach, turnip, and kale as well as tomatoes also fall under the same category.
3. Omega-3 fatty acids:
- A deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids causes deficits in neurotransmitter metabolism, altered learning, and cognitive skills.
- Docosahexaenoic acid or DHA is a brain booster . It is mainly found in fish oil.
- Plant oils chiefly contain alpha-linolenic acid, which is an omega-3 fatty acid.
- Flax seeds and nuts are also a rich source of omega-3.
- According to a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, the omega-3 present in fish, flax seeds and nuts helps in slowing the cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s patients. Making foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids a part of daily diet from a young age would be an excellent idea to prevent Alzheimer’s.
- All cold pressed oils are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. The original nutrients of the seeds are retained in the cold pressing process.
- Berries such as grapes, mulberries, and raspberries have powerful antioxidant properties. The natural plant polyphenols present in the berries act as antioxidants. Laboratory studies have shown that these antioxidants decrease the amyloid plaque formation commonly seen in Alzheimer’s patients. They inhibit the inflammation which could otherwise lead to cell death.
- Resveratrol found in berries has been shown to improve health and survival. The resveratrol can also reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease and obesity.
- Antioxidants are also present in oranges and other dark-skinned fruits.
5. Coffee and spices:
- Some studies have indicated that caffeine present in coffee may slow down Alzheimer’s disease by inhibiting the acetylcholinesterase neurotransmitter. A study shows that daily caffeine intake reverses memory impairment.
- The unique compounds present in spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, and turmeric have been the subject of several studies. The neuroprotective effects of spices may actually help in the improvement of cognitive function. The many different compounds present in spices have several benefits ranging from anti-inflammatory to antioxidant as well as anti-hypertensive.
- Indian Ayurveda has used Turmeric for a long time. It is an ingredient of many curries in India. It contains curcumin, which possess antioxidant properties. Several studies conducted on mice have pointed out that treatment with turmeric extract reduced the brain levels of beta-amyloid. Irrespective of any scientific study, it is a well-known fact that the incidence of Alzheimer’s is less in India compared to the Western countries. The regular consumption of turmeric in Indian diet, it might well be the ‘behind the scenes hero.’
Friends, the list of good foods or superfoods is extensive. The key point is to cultivate a healthy eating habit and make it a ‘way of life.’ Follow a regular exercise regimen and play memory games. This will help maintain a healthy mind and body in the long run.
Mesmara offers a range of cold pressed oils which form part of the superfoods to prevent Alzheimer’s. Check Mesmara’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Virgin Coconut Oil, Cold Pressed Sesame Oil, Cold Pressed Groundnut Oil. You can also check various herbal powders, essential oils, and more products at Mesmara’s website.