Alzheimer’s is a huge existing and growing health problem. It’s the 2nd leading cause of death in Australia, with a greater prevalence in females than males. After the age of 65, the chance of getting the disease doubles every five years.
Once upon a time Alzheimer’s was believed to be an untreatable, irreversible genetic disease however we are now learning that this disease is very much driven by diet and lifestyle factors and for the most part preventable and in some cases reversible.
FACT: 50% OF ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE CASES ARE PREVENTABLE
That means that your diet and lifestyle choices now could be putting you at risk for developing Alzheimer’s later on.
Alzheimer's is a progressive brain disorder that damages and eventually destroys brain cells, causing memory loss and changes in thinking and other brain functions. It usually develops slowly and gradually gets worse over time, as your brain function declines and brain cells eventually die.
There are 2 key factors that cause this damage and cell death:
- Lack of blood flow to the brain: Without sufficient blood flow to the brain, your brain cells don’t get the energy (glucose), healthy fats and oxygen they need to function. When you starve your brain cells, they become stressed. When brain cells are stressed, they release a chemical called cytokines which triggers;
- Inflammation: Inflammation in the brain causes more stress and damage to the cells till eventually they die.
We are all aware of the Type 2 Diabetes epidemic however did you know that there is another type; Type 3 Diabetes which is associated with the brain and one of the biggest drivers of Alzheimer’s. This is just like Type 2 Diabetes where insulin resistance affects your ability to effectively convert glucose into energy, however this is in the brain.
Starved brain cells > stressed brain cells > inflammation > damaged cells > Loss of function
So to reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s later on in life, its crucial that you feed your brain cells by increasing blood flow to the brain, reduce inflammation and prevent insulin resistance. The best news is this can all be done naturally through diet, lifestyle and some key brain boosting supplements.
Here are some tips.
- Sleep! Sleep deprivation damages your brain cells
- Eat healthy fats such as omega-3 rich fish, avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, grass fed meat
- Prevent insulin resistance by minimising sugar and carbohydrates in the diet, choosing the right carbs that are low GI and high in fibre!
- Ensure you are getting sufficient protein in the diet
- Eat lots of colourful antioxidant rich vegetables to nourish and reduce inflammation
- Boost your Vitamin D levels and get out in the sunshine
- Support your brain health with supplements such as N-acetyl cysteine, CoQ10, Alpha lipoic acid and more.
Want to learn more? Check out this interview with Neurologist, Dr. David Perlmutter on how to prevent Alzheimer's through diet.