Alzheimer’s disease is debilitating and ultimately fatal. So, it makes sense to do everything possible to prevent Alzheimer’s. We use the acronym NEURO as a way to remember the different components helpful in fighting the disease. NEURO stands for nutrition, exercise, unwind (stress management), restore (restorative sleep), and optimize. We’ll focus here on ways to improve brain health through proper diet and nutrition.
The brain needs proper nutrition, just like the body’s other organs. In fact it needs more and healthier nourishment as this little organ consumes 25% of the body’s energy. Lifestyle and diet are critical to maintaining brain health. With the right diet, you can go a long way toward preventing Alzheimer’s.
The Alzheimer’s Nutritional lifestyle (we prefer it over the word diet)
The goal of proper nutrition for brain health is to reduce oxidation and inflammation. Trans fats and saturated fats increase inflammation. These fats, which are found in meats and many cheeses, also produce free radicals, which can damage brain cells.
The best foods for brain health contain antioxidants, such as phytochemical and polyphenos, and vitamins such as vitamin C and vitamin E. These components can remove free radicals from the body. Eating large amounts of fruits and vegetables, omega-3 rich flaxseed and vegetable-based protein can help protect against memory loss.
The ideal Alzheimer’s prevention diet would include the following:
• Avocados: high in monounsaturated fat
• Beans: high in antioxidants, phytonutrients, protein, iron and minerals
• Blueberries: a source of vitamin K, vitamin C, fiber, manganese and other antioxidants
• Broccoli: contains the carotenoid antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin
• Coffee: caffeine stimulates production of neuroprotective agents in the brain
• Dark chocolate: contains flavanol phytonutrients, which can lower the risk of stroke
• Flaxseed: rich in plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory and can reduce LDL cholesterol levels
• Green tea: contains catechin, which can help clear toxins
• Herbal tea: including anti-inflammatory teas such as mint, lemon balm and hibiscus
• Herbs: including basil, cilantro, dill, mint, parsley and rosemary
• Leafy greens: high in polyphenols and nutrients that support brain health
• Mushrooms: boost immunity and fight inflammation
• Nuts: rich in unsaturated fats which reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s
• Omega 3 fatty acids (algae-based): anti-inflammatory and support the immune system
• Quinoa: contains an assortment of nutrients, including fiber, vitamin E and minerals
• Seeds: including chia and sunflower seeds, high in vitamin E
• Spices: many contain antioxidants, including allspice, cinnamon, cloves, marjoram and saffron
• Sweet potatoes: contain phytonutrients, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C and minerals
• Turmeric: contains curcumin, which is both anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant
• Whole grains: including amaranth, buckwheat, millet, oats and sorghum, which contain fiber, complex carbohydrates, B vitamins and protein
Eating a variety of the healthy foods listed above and avoiding inflammatory foods containing trans fats and saturated fats will help to prevent Alzheimer’s and reverse memory loss. Another benefit is these foods are all heart-healthy and can protect against heart disease and stroke.