Alzheimer’s: The word conjures up scary thoughts of slowly losing your memory as you become a shell of your former self. Experts project that diagnoses of dementia, of which Alzheimer’s is the primary cause, will triple worldwide by 2050. But scientists tell us that preventative measures can go a long way in protecting the brain from memory loss diseases, and they are as simple as doing things like making changes in your diet.
Here are 10 super foods that work to boost brain power and, in turn, lessen your chances of suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. No one food has been shown to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, but healthy eating habits appear to be one of the top factors in lowering your risk for developing Alzheimer’s or dementia.
1. Wild Salmon, Tuna, Sardines (Omega-3 Fatty Acids)
The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least twice a week because it contains vital omega-3 fatty acids. These good fats help the body function properly and may slow cognitive decline by 10 percent, studies show.
“The main concept is that a diet rich in Omega 3 fatty acids creates BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor), a protein between nerve cells that helps increase the strength between connections,” said Michael Gonzalez-Wallace, author of “Super Body Super Brain.” Trout, mackerel, and herring are also good choices, and taking a fish oil vitamin can also help your body obtain this much-needed nutrient.
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When I was told that there could be another type of diabetes all I could do was cringe. With the rate at which diagnosis of type 2 is rising, adding one more type to mix is an overwhelming thought.
Type 3 diabetes was first discovered in 2005. A study from Brown University has linked that eating too much sugar has an effect on brain function. Insulin resistance means that circulating insulin is not being used the way it should to get glucose into cells. If the brain does not receive the energy and nourishment it needs, it begins to deteriorate, and those deteriorating brain cells can result in confusion and memory loss. Over the long term, more permanent memory loss could progress to Alzheimer’s disease.
The nutrition recommendations to help prevent type 3 diabetes are the same as they are for type 2, which include eating sugar in moderation, managing your weight, and eating smaller portion sizes. More studies will need to be conducted to confirm that type 3 diabetes is a separate form of diabetes versus a complication of type 2 diabetes.
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There have been many speculations as to the cause of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. Currently, there is no cure for the condition and as it progresses it worsens, often causing memory loss, mood swings, aggression and confusion, and eventually leading to death.
Though Alzheimer’s was formerly thought to be a disease of age, a growing body of research now suggests that it may be a metabolic disease – linking it to poor diet. As reported by the Guardian, scientists have even gone so far as to call it type 3 diabetes.
This news is especially concerning as Alzheimer’s currently affects an estimated 35 million people worldwide, and that number is expected to reach 100 million by 2050. Equally alarming are projected growth rates of type 2 diabetes in the U.S. alone, which are also expected to triple in the next several decades.
These speculations are tied to two potential factors: 1) Alzheimer’s causes a lack of natural insulin in the body, or 2) it causes an impairment of the brain’s ability to respond it. Suspicions of the link continue to rise as those who die from Alzheimer’s are often found to have low insulin levels in the brain. This has led researchers to believe that insulin is produced in the brain as well as in the pancreas, explaining why it could play such a crucial role in neuron signaling and cell growth and lifespan, according to Popsci.
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Want to think sharper? Prevent your brain from shrinking? (Yeah, that happens.) Keep your brain from aging? You can’t exactly take your brain to the weight room, but you can feed this muscle a diet rich in vitamins B, D, and E, choline, and omega-3 fatty acids. That’s why making sure your diet is rich in the six foods on Oprah’s Great Brain Grocery List will not only feed your mind, but feed your body with plenty of essential nutrients.
While there’s no cure for Alzeheimer’s or dementia, often times we can do a lot to prevent these memory diseases from taking hold of our lives. New research finds that memory decline sets in as early as our mid-40s, according to O Magazine.
Click through to see which foods you need to start tossing in your cart.
Grow Some Fresh Brain Cells and Ward Off Alzheimer’s with Daily Exercise
High-Fat Diets Cause Brain Inflammation
Dr. Oz’s 2-Day Detox Diet in PEOPLE is More Proof He’s Sold Out
Not only can exercise improve your health, but an increasing body of research is finding that exercise benefits your memory. The advantages may be as diverse as reducing the risk of cancer, spurring the growth of new brain cells, and preventing Alzheimer’s.
In a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2007, researchers found an improvement in participants’ blood flow to a memory-related brain area as well as increased scores on memory tests after a three-month-long workout program.
Another study, conducted at Cambridge University in 2010, showed that running stimulates the brain to grow new cells in the hippocampus, a part of the brain associated with memory. Mice were given rewards of sugar if they nudged a square to their left, and nothing if they nudged a square on their right. One group then had access to running wheels, and after their exercise they outperformed sedentary mice’s ability to pick the right square by nearly fifty percent. Tissue samples also showed that they had hundreds of thousands of new brain cells.
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