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Practically non-existent a century ago, Alzheimer’s disease is now the #6 killer in the U.S. Cardiovascular disease may contribute to clogged cerebral arteries, cutting off blood flow to the brain and leading to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Dietary components that may increase the risk of cognitive dysfunction include pork consumption, hormones and steroids in dairy, blue-green algae supplements, spirulina, copper (in meat), glycotoxins (found mostly in chicken), the neurotoxin known as BMAA, (found mostly in fish), aluminum (in cheese), and iron (in supplements).

Those who eat meat such as chicken, pork and beef, as well as seafood, may have triple the risk of being diagnosed with dementia, compared to long-time vegetarians. That’s because high fat, high protein foods like these contain high levels of glycotoxins, and high levels of glycotoxins in the blood may predict cognitive decline over time.

How to Prevent or Slow Cognitive Decline

But Alzheimer’s is not an inevitable part of aging. There are certain plant foods and spices which studies indicate have the potential of preventing or slowing the disease. This includes saffron, coffee, ginger, apple juice, beans, vitamins D and B-12, whole grains and whole fruits and vegetables.

Turmeric may treat and prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Just a teaspoon a day (not curcumin alone) brought dramatic improvements in the lives of several Alzheimer’s patients. Plant-based diets in general may slow aging and help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, coconut oil has not been shown to have an effect on Alzheimer’s.

Exercise has even been shown to reverse mild cognitive decline. In one study, those suffering mild cognitive impairment were directed to exercise 30 minutes a day for six months; a control group was told to simply stretch for half an hour every day. Not only did those who exercised not decline further, as the control group did, but their cognition at the end of six months was better than when they started.

There may be a quick, non-invasive and affordable way to test for Alzheimer’s that involves smelling peanut butter; an early diagnosis could prove critical since research has shown that neurodegenerative brain changes may begin in middle age.

 

Image Credit: Trifonenko / Thinkstock. This image has been modified.

Topic summary contributed by Wyatt and Dawn

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