Diet Benefits for Alzheimer’s Disease
A healthy diet is important regardless of age or health condition because it keeps you fit and helps you manage your optimum weight. In addition, a nutritious diet can lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias by stopping inflammation, improving memory and focus, and slowing the loss of mental abilities.
In general, the foods that benefit the brain’s health include the following:
- Vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables
- Nuts and seeds, beans, lentils, and cocoa are high in minerals.
- Sources of fiber are found in whole grains, berries, vegetables, and dried fruits.
- Seafood, nuts, eggs, chia seeds, and dark chocolate are rich in healthy fats.
- Protein is found in low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, eggs, and lean meat.
The following three diets are believed to provide balanced nutrition that can benefit people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
- Ketogenic diet
- Seafood diet
The ketogenic diet is also known as the “keto” diet, and it involves replacing carbohydrates with fat. This replacement should get your body to burn fat instead of glucose for energy. The health advantages of the ketogenic diet include weight loss and a reduced risk of certain diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, hypertension, and cancer.
Studies show that the keto diet may reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and slow its progression.
What Is the Keto Diet and How Does It Work?
A ketogenic diet entails significantly lowering your carb intake and replacing it with fat. This leads your body to enter a metabolic state known as ketosis, resulting in a rise in ketone levels in the liver, which then supplies energy for the brain.
While the body generally gets energy from glucose (blood sugar), the ketogenic diet stimulates the body to obtain more energy from ketones created from fat.
The keto diet involves eating various foods high in fats, such as:
- Seafood – salmon, shellfish, sardines, mackerel, etc.
- Vegetables – nonstarchy vegetables like leafy greens, peppers, tomatoes, olives, etc.
- Nuts – walnuts, almonds, pecans, macadamia nuts, etc.
- Olive oil
- Dairy – cheese, plain yogurt, milk, and plant-based milk
- Berries – raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries
- Dark chocolate
At the same time, you should avoid potatoes and other starchy vegetables, grains, legumes, sugary drinks, candies, etc.
Fasting is a calorie-restriction method that can lead to better control of energy, improved metabolism, decreased brain insulin resistance, and the suppression of neuroinflammation.
According to research on mice, intermittent fasting can decrease the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by lowering the release of pro-inflammatory cells in the blood called monocytes. These are highly inflammatory immune cells that can cause severe tissue damage.
The study found that fasting lowered amyloid beta and hyperphosphorylated tau protein, two markers of Alzheimer’s disease.
The survey also showed that brain inflammation in mice was reduced. In addition, the mice performed better on cognitive tests than animals fed a regular diet.
How Does Fasting Work?
Intermittent fasting is based on the premise that by reducing food intake, your body will dip into fat reserves for energy more rapidly and effectively. In times of food deprivation, our bodies burn fat for energy because our primary energy source, glucose, isn’t available. The hormone insulin is produced in response to eating food, and fasting makes the body more receptive to its effects. Insulin stimulates glucose storage in the liver, muscles, and fat cells.
When you go without food for a while, your glucose levels drop. This means your body makes less insulin, burning carbohydrates for energy. When your body runs out of stored glucose after 12 hours of fasting, it begins to burn stored fat.
Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood could decrease the risk of age-related cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of dementia.
Omega-3 fats have been associated with lower insulin levels and increased insulin sensitivity. In addition, these healthy fats can reduce inflammation in the body, lower triglyceride levels in the blood, and delay plaque accumulation inside blood vessels.
Regular fish consumption is considered suitable for brain function and may reduce the risk of dementia.
According to one study, people who ate seafood at least once a week were less likely to have amyloid plaques in their brains, which are among the signatures of Alzheimer’s disease.
A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids may also help lessen the risk of other diseases, including arthritis, heart disease, depression, and anxiety.
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