Good nutrition creates health in all areas of our existence. – T. Collin Campbell
T. Collin Campbell is an American biochemist who has dedicated his career to focusing on the long-term effects nutrition has on our health. His belief that optimal health begins with a nutrient-rich diet can be useful in preventing any number of illnesses and diseases from developing, including Alzheimer’s. While a cure still remains elusive, doctors and nutritionists are quite encouraging about meaningful steps we can take towards avoiding the risk of dementia’s onset – starting with the food we eat.
Researchers are identifying certain nutritional sources that may protect against plaque formation, inflammation, and other pre-dementia phenomena. A brain-healthy diet begins with plenty of omega-3 fats, lean proteins, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Here are the key facts you need to know to start on the road to prevention:
- Omega-3 fatty acids are powerful nutrients essential to healthy brain function. DHA, the omega-3 found in fish oil, is thought to be a critical component in cellular transmission. Researchers at Tufts University recently found that people who ate fish 3 times a week could possibly cut their risk of Alzheimer’s disease by as much as 39%! Good sources of omega-3s include salmon, mackerel, sardines, and albacore tuna.
- What’s good for your heart is good for your brain; doctors suggest following a heart-healthy diet full of whole grains, fish, nuts, olive oil and fresh produce – and mix in a glass of red wine once in a while. By definition, a heart-healthy diet also means avoiding full-fat dairy products, red meat, fried food, and processed/packaged foods.
- A powerful antioxidant, Vitamin C is essential for vascular health; some research suggests it may also protect against the formation of dementia-related brain plaque. So load up on all citrus fruits, as well as broccoli, leafy greens, peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, and cantaloupe.
- Beans and green peas are excellent sources of B-complex vitamins, which are thought to protect against brain shrinkage, as well as maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Spikes in blood sugar cause brain inflammation, which some scientists believe is a risk factor for dementia.
- Vitamin D deficiency is also being looked at as a possible precursor to developing dementia symptoms. Talk to your doctor about possibly adding a Vitamin D supplement to your daily routine, and shop for Vitamin D-fortified foods found in the cereals and dairy aisles.