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Grandma Knows Best

Diet's link to dementia

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Grandma Knows Best

It turns out that including certain foods into your diet can help ward off degenerative mental diseases such as Alzheimer's or dementia.

Fish is the best brain food—a good source of essential nutrients that can help maintain your memory into old age. Eating fish can help ward off degenerative mental diseases such as Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Or do we need to do more than just eat fish to keep our brains from malfunctioning as we age? Was Grandma right when she said, “Eat your fruits and vegetables so you can be big, strong, healthy, and smart?”

Try these brainy foods

Blueberries: Significant levels of powerful antioxidants help protect the brain from oxidative stress and preserve the brain’s machinery.
 -Eat 1/2 cup (125 mL), 2 to 3 times a week.

Dark leafy greens: Broccoli, kale, and other crisp, leafy green vegetables are considered superfoods due to their rich nutrient content. Also a great source of vitamin K, which enhances cognitive function and improves brain power.
 -Eat 1/2 cup (125 mL) to 1 cup (250 mL) daily.

Whole grains: Rich in folate to help lower homocysteine levels associated with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and stroke.
 -Eat 3 to 5 servings per day of whole and sprouted grain foods.

Walnuts: The omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, along with vitamins E and B6, are excellent sources of nutrients for our nervous system.
 -Eat 1 oz (28 g), 5 times a week.

Olive oil: Rich in antioxidants which help reduce free radical damage. Choose an extra-virgin, cold-pressed source.
 -Studies show up to 1 1/2 Tbsp (22 mL) per day, with regular exercise, can help lower blood pressure.

Garlic: Acts as a blood cleanser and has anti- inflammatory properties. Good source of sulphur (an aluminum antagonist) and helps increase the blood flow to the brain.
 -Recommended intake is 1 clove per day.

Cacao: Raw, unprocessed cacao is rich in antioxidants. Add cacao nibs to nuts and seeds for between-meal snacks.
 -The average person can consume up to 1 to 2 Tbsp (15 to 30 mL) per day of raw organic cacao nibs mixed into smoothies or eaten with nuts and seeds.

Wild salmon: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, EPA, and DHA (derivatives of omega-3 fatty acids). Helps provide optimal neuronal functioning of the brain.
 -Safely consume 1 to 2 – 8 oz (225 g) servings per week from a clean, wild source, or supplement with pharmaceutical grade fish oils.

Avocados: Contain monounsaturated fats which contribute to healthy blood flow to the brain.
 -Eat 1/4 to 1/2 avocado 3 to 4 times per week.

Water: Though it isn’t strictly a food, water is essential for digesting food. In addition, our bodies are unable to metabolize healthy fats efficiently when dehydrated.
 -Drink at least 8 - 8 oz (250 mL) glasses of water per day (average person).

Major study findings

According to a recent study published by the American Academy of Neurology, titled “Dietary patterns and risk of dementia: The three-city cohort study,” frequent consumption of fruits and vegetables, fish, and omega-3-rich oils may actually decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Alzheimer’s disease, the leading cause of dementia, is a progressive and fatal disease that affects more than 24 million people worldwide and currently has no known cure.

Alzheimer’s destroys brain cells, causing short-term memory loss, confusion, anger, mood swings, and language breakdown, and eventually graduates into long-term memory loss, loss of minor and then major bodily functions, and finally death.

Mediterranean diet advocated

The three-city cohort study looked at different cities in France, with the most positive results coming from the participants who favoured a Mediterranean diet.

The findings advocate a regular diet of fish, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and a moderate amount of alcohol (a glass of red wine with dinner).

A complex relationship between foods is stressed, emphasizing that the omega-6-rich foods (found in many different oils) must also be eaten in a balance with omega-3-rich fish and seafood.

The typical Western diet provides 10 times the needed amount of omega-6-rich oils such as sunflower, safflower, and corn oils instead of properly balanced with omega-3 oils or fatty acids. The ideal ratio is between 1:1 and 4:1 (omega-6 to omega-3), whereas the typical Western diet provides ratios between 11:1 and 30:1.

To address this imbalance, eating fresh organic fruits and vegetables results in greater bioavailability and absorption of nutrients into the cells of our bodies, helping to keep Alzheimer’s and dementia at bay. In addition, consume high-quality, pharmaceutical-grade fish oil supplements, which are filtered and processed to provide a higher level of nutrient value without the risk of heavy metal toxins.

Remember, the next time someone (especially Grandma) advocates the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and fish oils, thank them for helping to keep the minds of our future leaders strong, healthy, and intact. 

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