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6 Foods That Will Reduce Your Risk Of Alzheimer’s

posted on 7/1/2016 Facebook Facebook

When actress Julianne Moore won the best actress Academy award (Oscar) for her unparalleled performance in the movie Still Alice, the world couldn’t stop applauding her. A simple film which touched a delicate health issue—Alzheimer’s, the movie evoked a poignant response. But, that said, it served an even greater cause; creating awareness about Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s Disease: The Struggle To Not Fade Away

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that disrupts typical cell function in the brain.  The leading theory is that, in the case of Alzheimer’s, plaques and tangles (abnormal deposits and fibers) build up in the brain causing brain cell dysfunction and resulting cell death.  This is the most likely cause of the symptoms of dementia—loss of memory. 

The movie highlights the diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s which affects a person younger than 60 years of age. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, about 5% of the patients with the disease have early-onset Alzheimer’s. For women, dementia is an especially important subject, as females have a significantly higher risk (about twice as high as men) of developing this cognitive condition.

The numbers are staggering and do invoke alarm since the disease is known to have no cure as yet. However, early detection can be a critical factor in managing it early on. Years of scientific research has also highlighted that Alzheimer’s may be genetic and hence run in families. Genetic testing for the various mutations linked to the disease can help determine your susceptibility. Knowing your risk can be seen as a chance to be informed and take preventative steps to reduce it.

Yes! You Can Prevent Alzheimer’s
While neurologists recommend a long trail of lifestyle choices to cut the risk of Alzheimer’s, your Alzheimer’s prevention kit may be as close as your pantry. Here are six foods which will not only keep your brain healthy but also slow down or perhaps even prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s.

1. Walnuts
Closest to resembling our brains, walnuts come with a big list of nutritional punch, most importantly omega-3 fatty acids. Several studies have shown that eating walnuts daily can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s by up to 26%. Walnuts are also rich in vitamin E and flavonoids which add further protection to the brain.

2. Fatty Fish
Also loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring and sardines are thought to offer protection against the risk of Alzheimer’s. A recent study released by the American Academy of Neurology suggested that foods rich in omega-3s such as fish, nuts, and chicken can lower the levels of beta-amyloid in the blood. High levels of this protein are associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s.

3. Berries
Rich in antioxidants, berries aid in fending off the damage that can be caused by free radicals. These nasty commuters although short lived can cause severe damage to the brain cells and initiate cognition changes which mark the onset of Alzheimer’s. You name it—strawberries, blueberries, cranberries or blackberries, they’re all good for your brain.

4. Leafy Greens
Full of folate, vitamin B, fiber, and antioxidants--leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and dill can all help to improve cognition and thereby reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. Yet another reason to go green!

5. Wine
The health benefits of wine have been known far and wide. From keeping your health healthy, immune system strong, preventing stroke to reducing diabetes risk and increasing longevity, this alcoholic beverage does some good. A 2004 French study highlighted that drinking about 4 ounces of wine per day can prevent dementia and improve cognition thereby reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s to about 75%. Say cheers to that!

6. Chocolate
If you weren’t eating it for a healthy heart then start now for a healthy brain. And mind you it’s dark chocolate and not its lighter or albino brother. Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids which are potent antioxidants that can reduce the risk of dementia and improve overall brain function.

References:

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