Different fruits and vegetables appear to support different cognitive domains of the brain, so both variety and quantity in the diet are important. Greater fruit and vegetable consumption has been linked with lower rates of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Ellagic acid may play a role in the ability of berries to prevent age related cognitive decline, but its absorption is blocked by dairy. The relationship between tofu and dementia may be related to formaldehyde contamination. Apple juice did not appear to increase cognitive performance in Alzheimer’s patients, even though in a petri dish apple juice and ginger appeared to improve nerve cell survival. However, it has been found that those who drink fruit and vegetable juices had a 76% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s, possibly due to phytonutrient content. Saffron, when compared to Aricept, a leading drug in the treatment of Alzheimer’s, was found to work just as well without the side effects (see also here). Coffee may also reduce the risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Aluminum is added to processed cheese and may be related to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Iron accumulation in the brain is being increasingly linked to neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s. And there’s been a recommendation that people with a family history of neurodegenerative diseases should avoid milk. Toxic waste in the food supply may help explain the link between dairy consumption and Parkinson’s disease. Skim milk has been found to have especially high levels of hormones.
Consumption of methyl mercury can result in microcephaly, impaired cognition, and delayed brain nerve communication in fetuses, infants, and children. Mercury contamination has even been linked to lower IQs and brain damage in the children of mothers who ingest mercury while pregnant. Methyl mercury is found in tuna and fish (see here, here, here). Ayurvedic medications have also been found to be contaminated with mercury and lead (see here). Arsenic is fed to chickens and may be related to neuropathy as well as neurocognitive deficits in children.
Pork tapeworms invading the brain is one of the most common causes of epilepsy (see also here). The brain parasite toxoplasma is found in lambs; 10% of Americans are currently infected with this parasite. The common neurological disorder essential tremor appears to be also linked to meat consumption. There are neurotoxins in fish that cannot be neutralized with cooking and can cause strange reactions (like hot feels like cold, cold feels hot). Similarly, domoic acid, found in seafood, has been found to cause a form of permanent amnesia.
Aspirin naturally found in plants may explain the presence of aspirin in the bloodstream of vegetarians, and it does not appear to have the attendant risk of hemorrhagic stroke that comes with regular consumption of aspirin in pill form.
Topic summary contributed by Denise.
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