Someone in Britain is diagnosed with dementia every three minutes, and this degenerative disease is the leading cause of death in women – with no known cure.
More of us are looking for ways to beat the onset of dementia for ourselves and our loved ones, and there may be some simple lifestyle changes that can help keep the disease at bay. Two neurologists who specialize in Alzheimer’s have shared their new research in a plan that could significantly reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and possibly reverse the early symptoms of confusion and forgetfulness.
Aim to eat more of the following foods to reduce the risk of dementia:
Avocados are rich in the healthy fats that support your brain structure and blood flow.
Beans are a great addition to your diet, being high in antioxidants, nutrients and plant protein. Beans have been shown to increase longevity and could reduce the risk of stroke. They lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar for hours after consumption.
Berries, especially blueberries and strawberries, can delay cognitive decline by up to two-and-a-half years according to different studies.
Coffee contains powerful antioxidants, and the caffeine stimulates production of a neuro-protective agent in the brain.
5. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
This stalwart of the Mediterranean diet is a great source of healthy fatty acids and plant nutrients.
Linseeds have been shown to decrease inflammation and reduce cholesterol levels. They are rich in plant based omega-3 fatty acids, and they also contain chemical compounds called lignans, which protect blood vessels from inflammatory damage.
7. Herbal Teas
Most herbal teas have some health benefits, but mint, lemon balm and hibiscus teas are good anti-inflammatories.
Herbs are a potent source of antioxidants – fresh or dried coriander, dill, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, mint and parsley contain an amazing ten times more antioxidants than nuts or berries.
9. Leafy Green Vegetables
All leafy greens such as spinach, kale and cabbage are a source of antioxidants linked with brain health.
All types of nuts are a good source of healthy unsaturated fats, and they have been found to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by several studies.
This is a great complete protein source that also contains fiber, vitamin E and minerals such as zinc, selenium and phosphorus. These substances are essential building blocks for brain cells and the supporting structures.
Seeds are high in vitamin E and other brain boosting nutrients. Try sprinkling some seeds over yogurt or your breakfast cereal.
Spices have an important role to play in supporting the brains detoxifying systems. Add cinnamon, cloves, marjoram, allspice, saffron, nutmeg and tarragon to your cooking.
14. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes can help regulate your blood sugar, as well as containing anti-inflammatory compounds such as vitamins A and C, and various minerals.
15. Green Tea
Green tea contains polyphenols called green tea catechins, which activate detoxifying enzymes.
This spice has been shown to reduce the beta-amyloid plaques that can build up in the brain to trigger Alzheimer’s.
17. Whole grains
The starch in whole grains like oats, buckwheat, millet, teff, sorghum and amaranth feed the good bacteria in your gut and provides energy for the brain. They are also full of fiber, carbs, protein and B vitamins.
Take your mushrooms fresh, dried or powdered to reduce inflammation in the blood vessels of the brain. Brown mushrooms are also a good source of vitamin B12, which has been linked with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s.
19. Dark Chocolate
Good news for chocolate lovers! Dark, unprocessed cocoa or cacao nibs in pure dark chocolate are the sources of plant nutrients that can relax arteries and help supply oxygen to the brain.
Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, have been shown in large studies to slow age-related memory decline.
Foods to Avoid
Try reducing or cutting out the following foods from your diet:
1. Processed Foods
White bread, crisps, cookies and ready meals are all high in salt, sugar and saturated fats that can clog the brain arteries and damage brain tissue. Try to reduce your intake of foods with a long list of ingredients, as the longer the list, the more processed the food will be.
2. Processed meats
We may love deli meats, but they don’t love us. Sausages, bacon, pepperoni, salami and chorizo are usually full of preservatives, salt and saturated fats that can damage blood vessels in the brain.