Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating illness that affects over 5 million Americans alone. It is also the sixth leading cause of death in America. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that roughly 1-in-3 senior citizens will die with Alzheimer’s disease, or another form of dementia. It kills more people than breast and prostate cancer combined. While there are many things about Alzheimer’s disease that have yet to be understood, there are ways you can help protect yourself against the disease. While it is largely considered to be an age-related condition with ties to genetic predisposition, nothing is ever absolute — especially when it comes to human health. These five dietary staples can help boost brain health and may even prevent dementia:
1. Ginger, berries and olive oil
What do these foods have in common? They can help protect your brain’s glial cells, which are imperative for the health of your central and peripheral nervous systems. Glial cells help moderate neurological functions, remove damaged cells, and help repair damage. Research has shown that when glial cells fail to do their jobs, it leads to severe damage in neurons (another type of brain cell), which quickly leads to cognitive impairments.
2. Green Tea
Studies show the polyphenols in green tea can actually provide benefits to adults with cognitive deficits. They may also lend neuroprotective benefits and may also help stave off further impairments in dementia patients.
3. Keep Your Blood Sugar Stable
A link between Type 2 Diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease has yet to be discerned. But, there is substantial evidence that high blood sugar negatively effects the brain and can cause lasting damage. Eating smaller meals and avoiding junk foods that contain refined grains and added sugars can help to keep your blood sugar on an even keel.
4. Kale, Spinach and Asparagus
Studies indicate that eating at least one full serving of leafy greens each day can help keep your brain young. Their high vitamin K concentration can also help prevent deficiency, which is linked to accelerating Alzheimer’s development.
5. Fatty Fish
DHA and EPA are two omega-3 fatty acids that are known to promote brain health, and prevent dementia. Because these essential nutrients cannot be produced by the body, it is very important to get enough through diet. Wild-caught fatty fishes such as salmon, trout and sardines are great choices for getting enough omega-3 fatty acids. A supplement from a reputable manufacturer is also a great option.