The number one thing that baby boomers are worried about as they age is “losing their mind”. Really….literally. Surveys conducted in people aged 50 and above have found that the biggest fear is in developing Alzheimer’s disease. Some adults have watched their parents suffer through this unpredictable change in personality of someone they’ve known all their life. It can be very distressing and the research has not given us much hope until now.
This article addresses new discoveries in brain health and the causes of Alzheimer’s disease. It’s been found that Alzheimer’s patients do not make excess beta amyloid in the brain, which is the sticky plaque in brain cells that effects primarily memory (hippocampus). The problem is actually the lack of the body to sufficiently remove this protein from the body. In other words, it’s not that the faucet runneth over as much as the drain is clogged for these people.
Some exciting research in the integrative field of neurology has also looked at this problem. Dr. David Perlmutter, board certified neurologist, looks at the way in which lifestyle can prevent Alzheimer’s and even offset the genetic predisposition that some have for this disease. Here are his recommendations from a recent conference:
1. Our brains are made of fat. So eat good fats. Monounsaturated fats, like olive oil, are naturally antioxidants and less vulnerable to damage from free radicals. The best fats for the brain are omega 3 fatty acids from cold water fatty fish, green leafy vegetables, and some grains and seeds.
2. Buy organic produce and meats that are free of chemical pesticides, hormones and antibiotics. These little things add up to significant health benefits.
3. Curcumin (Turmeric) reduces beta amyloid in the brain. The rate of Alzheimer’s in India is 25% what it is in the US. This spice reduces oxidative damage and promotes the clearance of beta amyloid peptides in the brain.
4. Green tea extract, garlic, beta carotene, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), sulforaphane glucosinolate (found in broccoli seed extract), and Resveratrol (red wine, grapes, peanuts and mulberries). These antioxidants enhance certain pathways in the brain that reduces inflammation and assists in detoxification.
5. Glutathione is an important intracellular antioxidant that inhibits the activation of inflammatory mediators. It also reduces beta amyloid plaque formation in the brain and reduces tissue damage produced by free radicals.
The main message is consistent.
Antioxidants, antioxidants, antioxidants!
Eat your fruits and veges, and healthy organic fats.