We are now able to detect Alzheimer’s disease appearing as ‘tangles’ in the brain at the age of fifty instead of waiting to be diagnosed at seventy. Alzheimer’s disease is not only a matter of forgetfulness (forgetting that appointment, what you had for lunch, why you went into a room and locking your keys in the car).
Alzheimer’s is more than that, it literally kills the brain. Alzheimer’s causes serious cognitive decline. It affects your ability to use your language, control your thoughts and do simple tasks like recall information, and subtracts. Over time it begins to affect your behaviour and personality. Your sweet grandmother becomes agitated and restless. A previously calm person begins to experience hallucinations and distress. It is heartbreaking for both the person and everyone around them.
The good news is, according to Dr Michael Gregor, numerous studies show that neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia, are more of a disease of the lifestyle than genetics. You should, therefore, stake the necessary steps to prevent Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s can be prevented if steps are taken soon enough.
Lifestyle changes need to be made now as it is predicted to be a global epidemic by 2050. There is a wide consensus that Alzheimer’s is caused by the build-up of a fatty plaque in the brain tissue called amyloid (similar to fatty arterial plaque and cholesterol). Amyloid is toxic to the brain; a normal person can break down this plaque and eliminate it but people with Alzheimer’s are unable to do this.
A lack of oxygenated blood to the brain (hindered by the arterial plaque) has been shown by many studies to increase the risk of neuro degenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s and dementia). Oxygenated blood is needed to bring nutrients to the brain and remove waste. Therefore, it is very important to keep your arteries clear and prevent the build-up of plaque.
Nobel prize winning research by Ignarro and colleagues has demonstrated that the signalling molecule Nitric Oxide responsible for telling the blood vessels to expand. It also increases the amount of oxygenated blood that reaches the organs, muscle tissue and most importantly- the brain.
The brain is a smaller organ than others, but it still uses 25% of the oxygenated blood in your body.
Unfortunately, our Nitric Oxide levels decline dramatically by age forty, so it is important to eat Nitric foods (leafy greens and vegetables) and supplement with a nitric oxide booster, which can be found here.
Adopting a good lifestyle from early on is essentials for brain health. The type of food we eat is very powerful. There is an emerging consensus that foods that clog our arteries, clog our brains! The western diet has evolved dramatically over the years and people are now eating triple the dairy and six times the amount of meat than they did before. For most people raised on a conventional western diet, cholesterol rich deposits stick inside the blood vessels that supply the heart and brain with oxygenated blood.
According to Dr Michael, a typical fast food meal, (sausages and McDonalds egg muffin) is enough to stiffen your arteries within hours. The Alzheimer’s prevention experts recommend a plant-based diet to reduce your chances. Basically, because plant-based diets promote a diet low in saturated fats and high in antioxidants, nitrates, and vitamins. Places around the world that have plant-based diets as their staple diet, like rural north Japan, China and Africa have lower levels of Alzheimer’s compared to western countries.
Plant-based diets, containing loads of wholemeal foods, fibres, fruit, nuts, seeds, and berries contain thousands of antioxidant properties, some of which are believed to traverse the blood-brain barrier and may provide neuroprotective effects by defending against the ‘rusting’ of the brain. For those struggling to get high amounts of anti-oxidants, you can supplement with our Heart Essentials, as you would still need to eat bowls and bowls of leafy green vegetables all day to get the amount you need.
Steps you can take to prevent Alzheimer’s includes working on your lifestyle. A lack of oxygenated blood to the brain can cause Alzheimer’s. But given the right conditions, the body really can heal itself. So, start now and be good to your body. Diet, exercise, and the right nutrients will safeguard your body and brain for old age. Do the best you can to protect your memories and your brain power well into old age.