Information on How to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
The idea that some time in the future we would forget our loved ones, our past, and ourselves is scary. But to more than 5 million people in North America, this is the reality that is happening because of Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease begins with mild forgetfulness. Slowly, it progresses to more serious problems involving the memory, language and reasoning. Then, a person suffering from this brain disorder loses his ability to function.
Research has yet to fully discover the cause and treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. According to studies, this cognitive decline is due to a combination of factors, such as genetics, the environment and lifestyle. How this actually happens is still quite unknown.
3 Possible Ways of Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease
The relation of diet to Alzheimer’s is being explored today. There are no breakthroughs yet, but certain types of foods are under study to see how they affect Alzheimer’s patients.
Intake of Omega-3 Fatty Acids and B-Vitamins
Tara Harwood, a registered dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio mentioned that a few studies found a relationship between the high intake of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acid to the decrease of Alzheimer’s cases. But more studies are necessary to have conclusive information.
Studies show that a high level of the amino acid homocysteine in the blood is associated with a higher risk of dementia. Experts are looking into the possibility of preventing Alzheimer’s by breaking down homocysteine with the increased intake of folate and vitamins B6 and B12. So far, no study has proven yet that vitamin B6 or B12 can do it, but there’s a study about the higher intake of folate that resulted to a lower occurrence of Alzheimer’s.
Eat Antioxidant-Rich Foods
One more possible rationale behind the development of Alzheimer’s disease is the destruction of body cells by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules capable of causing cell damage and aging, which may be the reason for some cases of Alzheimer’s disease.
A person can avoid free radicals by limiting exposure to the sun, pollutants in the environment and cigarette smoke. However, it’s natural to find free radicals in the body as a result of the byproduct of metabolism that happen every minute and every second. Eating foods rich in antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and flavonoid, can help lessen the unwanted effects of free radicals.
Antioxidant-rich foods that everyone should eat include berries, nuts, beans, dark green and orange vegetables. Test studies conducted on mice and rats bred to have Alzheimer’s disease then fed with blueberries, cranberries and strawberries showed that they had a much better mental function. Drinking green tea, which has high antioxidant content, may also help prevent Alzheimer’s. There’s no scientific evidence for this yet, but studies have shown that the intake of five cups of green tea per day is associated with a lower the risk of heart disease.
Follow the Mediterranean Diet
Some neurology experts from the Columbia University Medical Center in New York have conducted studies on the potential of following the “Mediterranean diet” for the purpose of Alzheimer’s disease prevention. The study involved the intake of mostly fruits, vegetables, beans, olive oil, some wine, dairy foods, fish, some meat and poultry, which are what people in Greece and other countries around the Mediterranean Sea typically consume. The results are quite optimistic as they present a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease and a lower mortality rate among patients; although more studies are needed.
What the Future Holds Regarding Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease still presents a lot of mysteries. Until now, no well-designed clinical trial experiment has ever demonstrated in a concrete way how alterations in diet, vitamins and dietary supplements and herbal medicines can impact the risk or course of Alzheimer’s disease.
Thus, experts in the field of Alzheimer’s disease research recommend that people continue to choose a healthy lifestyle and stick to a diet consisting of foods with minimal saturated fats and rich in B vitamins and antioxidants. Engaging in physical and mental activities with social interaction could also help in keeping Alzheimer’s disease at bay.
Photo source: Steve Jurvetson via Flickr, CC by 2.0