Protect Yourself from Dementia


Before we take an in-depth look at some natural remedies help for those suffering with or hoping to prevent dementia, it’s first important to understand exactly what dementia is. Dementia is not a disease in and of itself but rather a group of symptoms that include struggling with solving problems, thinking or communicating clearly and memory loss or confusion. Dementia is far more than a simple occasional lapse of memory. Anyone, even younger people, under stress may forget from time to time. When you think of dementia, you may think it’s the same thing as Alzheimer’s, but Alzheimer’s is simply one form of dementia. To be truly diagnosed with dementia, you must display at least two areas of problem with cognition which may include loss of memory, staring, trouble speaking, confusion, poor judgment, difficulty in situations where there was never difficulty before, forgetting familiar activities or environments, experience a personality change, lack of the ability of reading social cues, and disorientation. Don’t wait until you receive a dementia diagnosis to address the potential onset. Act now by taking easy preventative steps with changes in your diet and lifestyle.

Why People Get Dementia?

Researchers differ slightly as to why people get dementia. Some say it is purely hereditary while others believe there is evidence that there is more at stake than the genes we are handed at birth. There are also environmental factors that play a possibly more influential role in determining why a person gets dementia.

Who Gets Dementia?

Anyone can develop dementia. Because one person develops dementia and another with seemingly similar or identical genetics and lifestyles does not, has baffled those who study the cause and prevention of dementia.

Does Nutrition Play a Role in Dementia?

Making sure our bodies receive the proper nutrition is important for vitality. What we eat plays a vital role in so much of how our body functions. Specifically, in regard to avoiding dementia, those who eat a Mediterranean diet which includes high intake of vegetables, legumes, fruits, whole cereals, nuts, fish, unsaturated fats like olive oil, few dairy products, low saturated fats or meat, and regulated alcohol such as wine with dinner, have lower incidents of cognitive issues as they age. Foods such as coconut oil with medium chain triglycerides have been shown to help as well. Lipids are also important in preserving nerve impulses and boosting immunity.

Food rich in Omega-3 fatty acids have shown to be beneficial for healthy memory and brain function. Eating foods high in saturated fat and high cholesterol levels increase the risk of dementia. Large consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with decreased risks of developing dementia. Eating foods rich in antioxidants are also beneficial, especially those found in plant polyphenols which act as free radical scavengers and flavenoids. Curcumin, which is found in turmeric, and blueberries have been shown to improve memory as well as prevent and even reverse age-related cognition issues.

What Vitamins Can Protect From Dementia?

Studies done using vitamins and minerals have shown promise in protection from dementia. Dietary supplements such as MCTs triglycerides such as coconut oil, B vitamins are needed to create and maintain nerve cells and repair DNA, specifically B12 and B6, and some forms of fish oils have been shown to decrease dementia.

Weight training and exercise are also beneficial in keeping dementia at bay. Some other vitamins that have been studied and shown to help are Vitamin E with its antioxidant components as well as sage and antioxidant vitamins such as C and D.

Does The Environment, Toxins Cause Dementia?

Environmental factors such as an inflammatory diet, toxins, inactivity, infection, diabetes, chemical, nutritional, and social conditions, obesity or excessive stress may lead to dementia. In studies, dementia was more prevalent among those who abused alcohol, smoked, or consumed a western-type diet that is high in saturated fat.

Something as simple as exercising regularly could reduce the risk of dementia since those who exercise consistently have reduced levels of oxidative stress and inflammation. Other environmental factors include lead exposure which negatively impacts healthy neurotransmitters. Occupational pesticide exposure, air pollution and gases like ozone, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen or sulfur oxides can lead to inflammation in the brain and neuro-degenerative disease. A Kaiser Permanente Medical Group study found that those experiencing obesity in midlife had a 74 percent higher chance of dementia later in their lives.

Can Dementia Be Prevented?

Research has shown that with early intervention and some simple dietary and lifestyle changes, dementia can possibly be delayed or, in some cases, stopped entirely.

Avoid Food Triggers

Diet plays a key role in cognitive decline and disorders. Here are some foods to avoid to help prevent the development of cognitive disorders.

  • Sugar and refined carbohydrates- Eliminate unhealthy and concentrated sweeteners as well as refined carbohydrates. This helps stabilize your blood sugar and greatly reduce inflammation. Reducing sugar also encourages your brain to switch to more useful ketones for fuel. In addition, sugar and fat have been shown to induce cognitive decline when consumed in excess, which is why you want to greatly limit unhealthy sugars and fats in your diet.
  • Gluten- I recommend everyone to be gluten free, even if you have not been diagnosed with celiac or leaky gut. Gluten itself has also been linked to neurological problems.
  • Aluminum- Aluminum is toxic to the brain at high levels so avoid foods package in aluminum and also make sure you’re not using any aluminum-based cookware and aluminum-based deodorants.
  • All processed foods.
  •  Alcohol-Once in a while you may enjoy a glass of wine. Look for wine that is sulfate free, is organic and is aged for more than seven years. Too much alcohol can cause brain cells to die faster than normal.
  • Tap water-Tap water often contains environmental toxins, some of which could be damaging neurologically, so drink purified water instead.

References:

Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility and Science and Environmental Health Network – http://action.psr.org/site/DocServer/chap7_0926.pdf?docID=5924

Whitmer RA, Obesity in Middle Age and Future Risk of Dementia: a 27 year ongitudinal population based study. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15863436

Cole DC et al. Neurobehavioral Outcomes Among Farm and NonFarm Rural Neurotoxicology and Teratology – http://www.scielo.br/pdf/pn/v2n1/a07v2n1.pdf

Baldi I, Neuropsychologic Effects of Long-Term Exposure to Pesticides – http://images.biomedsearch.com/11564621/ehp0109-000839.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAIBOKHYOLP4MBMRGQ&Expires=1517616000&Signature=%2B3ZTf8Du00dJKIy6Tnz2pkay%2Fbw%3D

The Canadian Study of and Aging: risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease in Canada. Neurology. 1994 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7969962

Alzheimer’s Facts and Figures – https://www.alz.org/documents_custom/2016-facts-and-figures.pdf

Institute for Dementia Research and Prevention – http://idrp.pbrc.edu/faq.htm

Alzheimer’s Organization Risk Factors – http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_causes_risk_factors.asp

Reversal of Memory Loss – https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160616071933.htm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2738400/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2647859/

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