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Alzheimer’s vs. Whole Food

10 Apr

 

It’s just one more thing to consider in the prevention of disease. For years, I was focused so tightly on preventing Cancer, that I neglected to research the prevention and treatments for other diseases. My attention always swings to another category when I have a personal experience with a disease or illness. In this case, my husbands Grandmother spent her final years with Alzheimer’s. It was horrible to watch such a spitfire of a woman shrink into this frame of a body that had no function, no control, no memory, no life. It was heartbreaking and I can still see her beautiful eyes staring at me with a confused look and then the frustration of a child when she didn’t know who I was. Since she passed, there has been a lot of research done, but still no cure.

I never felt this disease was genetic, but I have heard that as an argument and I understand everyone is entitled to their opinion. Until there is an actual cure, I continue to think it has more to do with nutrition and environmental issues. I wasn’t surprised to hear that some of the new research points at 4 food groups that are now considered to be a contributing factor to Alzheimer’s.

Smoked Meats, processed cheese, Beer and white foods such as white flour, rice and sugar are considered to be among the most harmful. It was recently discovered that Nitrites cause a reaction in the brain with imprints of the Alzheimer patterns. If your food label reads  “Sodium Nitrite”, try to avoid it. It is a preservative, which adds to the product shelf life, but certainly not the shelf life of your brain.

Of course I always recommend whole foods, but that’s not what everyone eats at every meal, so amp up your intake of Antioxidants  (helpful substances that protect cells from damaging molecules called free radicals) They are thought to be useful in the battle against Alzheimer’s by preventing the toxic plaque that causes the disease from forming. Among the compounds researchers have identified as helpful are aged garlic extract, curcumin (found in the spice turmeric), melatonin (found in sunflower seeds and spices like coriander and celery seeds) and green tea. Filling your plate with antioxidant-rich whole foods will benefit your whole body but most importantly, your brain.

Look for dark-skinned and -leafed vegetables such as kale, spinach, broccoli and red bell pepper, and fruits (fresh or dried) such as red grapes, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and cherries.

If you don’t want to eat a plate full, you can always take my advice and blend it up into a smoothie.

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Posted by on April 10, 2011 in Alzheimers

 

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