Brain Health Nutrition
Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline are multifactorial. What we do know is that maintaining a healthy immune system, staying active and engaged, and eating a nutrient-dense diet are all protective against developing the devastating symptoms of cognitive decline. We also know that the elderly are at particularly high risk of malnourishment and nutritional deficiencies are linked with the severity of Alzheimer’s. Safeguarding your brain against cognitive decline starts in your kitchen. Follow these 5 dietary tricks and get the upper hand on Alzheimer’s protection.
1. Plant-heavy Paleo diet
The Paleo diet is based on whole foods that are dense with brain-protecting nutrients. In contrast, the Standard American Diet is high in processed grains, refined sugars, and inflammatory oils, and toxic preservatives and pesticides. Eating a Paleo diet rich in vegetables, low-sugar fruits, nuts, seeds, wild and grass-fed meats, bone broth, and fermented foods nourishes the brain with healthy fats and proteins that promote brain cell and neurotransmitter growth and survival.
2. Add Antioxidants
Antioxidants regulate free radicals that cause oxidative stress which is linked to cognitive decline. Increasing intake of antioxidant-rich foods like fruits and vegetables can provide more vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene and are more effective than taking supplements but supplements are a good back-up method to boost levels.
3. Boost B’s
Folate and B Vitamin deficiency are directly linked to Alzheimer’s. These nutrients are responsible for regulating homocysteine, which when elevated is correlated to increased risk of Alzheimer’s.
Insufficient levels of vitamin B-12 mean less oxygen in the brain, a condition that is common in elderly due to reduced digestive function.
Studies have found that supplementing with B vitamins and folate can slow the progression of brain atrophy and cognitive decline. It’s always best to supplement with bioavailable forms of folate and B vitamins.
4. Feast on Fish
Omega-3 fats are not only anti-inflammatory, but Omega-3 fatty acid DHA composes almost 30% of the human brain. Eating a diet high in wild fish is linked to lower risk of cognitive decline and better mental acuity.
5. Get Glucose Under Control
Diabetes increases the risk of cognitive decline by 65%, but you don’t have to be diabetic to be at risk. Glucose spikes and lows increase inflammation and put your brain at risk. That being said, chronically high blood sugar encourages plaque build-up associated with Alzheimer’s. Avoiding refined sugar and simple carbohydrates like rice, bread, pasta, chips, crackers, and sweets is a good start.
One of the best ways to get proactive about your cognitive health is by refining your diet and making sure your brain health nutrition is the best. That being said, it’s helpful to identify different imbalances and deficiencies which can be linked to personal lifestyle or genetics. Supporting an optimal brain starts with comprehensive diagnostics that assess your individual risk. From there, we can fix what we find and help your body function at its best.