This post was published by Alex Ortner
Published Thursday, October 10th, 2012
by Alex Ortner
If you ask me, there are few things more terrifying than Alzheimer’s disease. The thought of gradually slipping away from my loved ones and losing the memories of a lifetime is deeply chilling and downright horrifying. The worst part? It’s one of those diseases we’ve been told is barely understood, with little knowledge of what causes it or how it can be prevented. You simply get it or you don’t.
Well, it’s beginning to look like that’s not entirely true.
Although there’s yet to be a definitive cause found for Alzheimer’s disease, there’s an increasing amount of research that has uncovered some not-so-surprising links to this terrible disease. What is this suspected culprit, pray tell?
Surprise, surprise… it’s your diet.
Alzheimer’s May Be a Form of Diabetes
Just a few weeks ago in the September 1st issue of New Scientist Magazine, a story entitled “Eat Your Way to Dementia” lays out the case that the Standard American Diet (we like to call S.A.D. for short) of fried, sugary and fatty foods may be responsible for the deteriorating brain health of millions of people across the country.
You might not realize this, but the figures on Alzheimer’s are astonishing. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the world’s leading non-profit funder of Alzheimer’s research and support, Alzheimer’s Disease is the 6th leading cause of death in America, with 1 in 8 senior Americans suffering from the disease. Scarier yet, deaths from Alzheimer’s have increased 66% between 2000 and 2008.
The New Scientist article references a study done by Dr. Suzanne DeLaMonte at Brown University that found that mice whose insulin levels had been tampered with developed severe brain dementia that destroyed their ability to learn and recall. This dementia, it was observed, startlingly resembled Alzheimer’s in humans.
Insulin regulates your blood sugar, and resistance to this hormone is generally associated with Type II diabetes. However, the findings of this study, as well as several others, have led some scientists to label Alzheimer’s as ‘Type III Diabetes.’
What You Can Do to Keep Alzheimer’s at Bay
If Alzheimer’s Disease is indeed a form of diabetes, it means that we’re likely going to see an even sharper increase in Alzheimer’s rates over the next few decades as younger generations raised on fast food climb into their later years. It’s a dreadful realization, and hopefully it serves as a prompt for you and your loved ones to get your diet in order.
It’s really not about a cure, but prevention. There’s so much you can do to limit your chance of becoming another statistic.
We know definitively that fast food and junk food have a major impact on causing and worsening obesity and diabetes, and now it looks like Alzheimer’s has been added to that list. As such, the first step to keeping these terrible scourges at bay is to cut all of that nonsense out of your diet. However, it doesn’t end there. Here are a few ways you can potentially arm yourself against the onset of both Alzheimer’s and diabetes.
Try a raw foods diet – Look no further than our very own Simply Raw movie for incredible, inspirational stories about how switching to a raw foods diet for only 30 days utterly transformed the lives of 6 people struggling with both Type I and Type II diabetes. Simply put, a regular diet of fresh organic produce instead of artery-clogging, calorie laden “foods” is one of the most powerful and impactful things you can do to dramatically boost your health, whether you have one of the horrible diseases already or don’t want to ever endure one.
Get your Vitamin B! – A recent study done at Oxford University revealed that high daily doses of B vitamins had a substantial impact on reducing the kind of brain shrinkage typically seen in the elderly that leads to memory loss, confusion and increasing dementia. Also, it is often a precursor for Alzheimer’s.
You can opt for a supplement, but there are also several food sources that will help you get your fill of the B vitamins. Spinach and other dark leafy greens are great sources of folate (B9), pantothenic acid (B5) and riboflavin (B2); beans such as navy beans and lentils are rich in thiamin (B1); avocados are home to biotin (B7) and a whole host of other B vitamins. The list goes on.
Eat Probiotic Foods – B vitamins don’t only come in the form of foods and supplements; your gut also manufactures small quantities of B vitamins such as biotin (B7), cobalmine (B12) and folic acid (B9). Of course, this is all hampered if your digestion is awry, and so it’s important to make sure that you’re repopulating your gut with strong, friendly bacteria via probiotic foods such as kefir or sauerkraut. In fact, many of these foods produce B vitamins during the fermentation stage. As an added bonus, balancing your gut bacteria can also have a positive impact on other mental disorders such as depression and even autism, according to a study done by McMaster University in Canada.
Exercise! – I’m not asking you to become an Olympic athlete, but if you get your body moving on a regular basis, it will absolutely love you for it. Even a brisk walk a few times around your block twice a week can make a significant difference in your health. Regular exercise goes a long way in staving off or keeping Type II diabetes in check; with Alzheimer’s potentially being yet another form of diabetes, it stands to reason that exercise is likely a powerful weapon against this monster as well.