Alzheimer’s and Dementia; Eating the right way

Monday 30th Aug 2021 |

Dementia, including Alzheimer’s, is now the leading killer of women, causing three times more deaths than breast cancer. It is also the third biggest killer for men, so it is incredibly important to work on prevention.  

Dementia is an umbrella term that includes up to 100 different types of diseases.  The most common is Alzheimer’s disease, which occurs in 50 to 75 per cent of cases – caused by plaque and tangles developing in the brain.  The next most common is vascular dementia at approximately 20 to 30 per cent which is a problem of supply of blood (and so oxygen) to the brain. 

Alzheimer’s and Dementia – Feed Your Brain 

 What you eat can have an enormous impact on your brain function, as a study of over 1,000 people followed over 5 years showed that eating a Mediterranean diet is linked to a reduced risk of memory loss and problems with concentration.  The advice is to increase the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables, olive oil, eat more oily fish and cut out processed, fast and convenience foods.  

Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Making sure you keep your blood sugar in balance is incredibly important, as poor blood sugar control has been closely linked with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s that it has been suggested that Alzheimer’s should be called ‘type 3 diabetes’. 

Almost three quarters of people – a staggering 70 per cent –with type 2 diabetes are now known to develop Alzheimer’s, compared with only 10 per cent of people without diabetes.  

So, how can you change up your diet to ensure you are protecting yourself against Alzheimer’s and Dementia? The UK’s leading nutritionist and award-winning author, Dr Marilyn Glenville PhD (www.marilynglenville.com), shares her expert tips on what you can do to balance blood sugar and reduce the risk of developing these unwanted diseases.  

Alzheimer’s and Dementia – Reduce Your Sugar Intake: 

Try and eliminate added sugar and refined carbohydrates as much as possible. This includes white bread and white rice as they are turned to sugar (glucose) quickly in your body and your pancreas must produce more insulin to deal with them. You should also try to eat little and often, leaving no longer than three hours without eating. Your daily meal plan could include breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, mid-afternoon snack, and dinner.  

Alzheimer’s and Dementia – Eat A Balanced Breakfast Every Day: 

Alzheimer’s and Dementia

You should try to make sure you have breakfast every day which incorporates a mixture of protein and carbohydrates, otherwise you are more likely to reach for a coffee and a cake at 11am because your blood sugar will have plummeted. This may also make you feel moody, irritable, tense and not able to concentrate. Always eat breakfast and make it a mixture of protein and carbohydrate – avoiding sugar-laden breakfast cereals.  

Alzheimer’s and Dementia – Have Protein With Every Meal: 

Another tip to balance your blood sugar is to include protein with every meal, as it slows down the blood sugar rise from the carbohydrates.  So, whenever you eat an oat cake or brown rice, try to include some fish or eggs, or a vegetable protein such as quinoa, legumes (in the form of, say, chickpea hummus), nuts (nut butters, such as almond butter, are good) or seeds. The body takes longer to process proteins than other foods, so adding protein effectively slows down the absorption of the carbohydrate. 

Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Alzheimer’s and Dementia – Be Booze Aware: 

You should also be conscious of how much alcohol you are consuming as it influences your blood sugar, so try looking for drinks with a lower sugar content. Spirits do not contain sugar, but their mixers usually do. White wine is more sugary than red, but on the other hand a white wine spritzer (made with sparkling mineral water) will be better for you than a full glass of red wine. 

Alzheimer’s and Dementia – Nurture Your Nutrients: 

Certain nutrients can also be helpful in keeping your brain healthy and can be thought of as being supplementary to your diet. Supplements of Omega-3 fish oils are particularly helpful as DHA, one of the major Omega-3 fatty acid in the brain, seems to have the most protective effect against Alzheimer’sThe DHA in Omega-3 fatty acids helps to prevent the plaque forming in the brain which is present in Alzheimer’s, and they help improve cerebral blood flow and reduce inflammation, making them important in the fight against not only Alzheimer’s but also vascular dementia.     

Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Other nutrients which can be helpful include an amino acid called acetyl-L-carnitine as it increases the brain receptors that would normally deteriorate with age so helpful for memory loss and dementia. 

People with Alzheimer’s have been found to have a shortage of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and it is critical for memory and brain function.  Choline is a starting block for acetylcholine and is contained in high amounts in egg yolks and is also found in soya and nuts.  So, these are good foods for boosting memory and brain function.   

Acetyl-L-carnitine works with coenzyme Q10 and alpha lipoic acid to maintain the function of the mitochondria. The mitochondria are the power houses of your cells, they provide the energy for your cells to function and survive. 

In one study, people taking vitamins, B6, B12 and folic acid (vitamin B6 20mg, vitamin B12 500mcg, folic acid 800mcg) had 90% less brain shrinkage compared to those using a placebo.  I use a supplement by NHP called Advanced Brain and Memory Support in my clinics (www.naturalhealthpractice.com). The research suggests that there is a 20- to 30-year interval between first development of amyloid plaque and onset of dementia. So, no matter what age you are, it is never too late to change your diet to help protect your brain health.  

To hear more about how nutrition can help improve memory and concentration and reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s and Dementia, Dr Marilyn Glenville will be hosting an exclusive live webinar and Q & A on Tuesday 7th September at 7pm, taking you through her ‘7 Step Brain Protection Plan’. For more information and tickets, visit here.   

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