Alzheimer's disease causes around 60-70% of dementia cases, making it one of the most common causes of this cognitive decline. This chronic neurodegenerative disease starts slowly and gets progressively worse with time. The initial symptoms include memory loss and difficulties with thinking. As the disease advances, the symptoms include problems with language, mood swings, loss of motivation, behavioral issues and not being able to look after yourself.
Alzheimer's exact cause is unknown, however, about 70% of cases are linked to genetics. Other risk factors include repetitive head injuries, depression or hypertension. If you happen to be at high risk of contracting Alzheimer's, changing your diet can help a lot. In fact, there are many foods out there that can help improve your cognitive health and significantly reduce your risk of developing the disease.
Below are 10 superfoods that help reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease:
These are packed full of antioxidants, which can help protect the brain from free-radical damage. Furthermore, they also protect the body from toxic iron compounds that have been known to cause degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis.
A 2016 study, carried out by University of Cincinnati researchers, showed that blueberries could be used in the on-going war against Alzheimer's disease. This study showed that the antioxidants present in the berries could help prevent the devastating effects of the common form of dementia.
These berries are perfect as a healthy snack throughout the day. They can be eaten alone or used in granolas, fruit salads, cereals or smoothies.
2. Kale and Other Green Leafy Vegetables
Green leafy vegetables such as kale help keep our mental abilities sharp, prevent cognitive decline and reduce the risk of contracting Alzheimer's disease. Kale is a rich source of vitamin B12, which is very important for cognitive health.
A study published in 2015 by Rush University Medical Center researchers found that adding more kale, collards, spinach and mustard greens to our diet could help slow cognitive decline. This study examined in depth the nutrients responsible for this effect and found that it is Vitamin K consumption that slows down cognitive decline.
Eating just 1 to 2 servings of kale or any other green leafy vegetable per day can be very beneficial in warding off Alzheimer's.
3. Green Tea
When it comes down to antioxidant-rich foods that can improve brain power, green tea should most definitely be on the list. Its antioxidants support healthy blood vessels in the brain so that it can function properly. Furthermore, drinking green tea may stop the plaque growth in the brain that is linked to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
Drink 2 to 3 cups of green tea a day to maintain your brain's long-term health.
This popular spice can help break up brain plaque and reduce inflammation of the brain that may cause memory issues. Cinnamon is effective in preventing (and delaying) the symptoms of Alzheimer's as it facilitates better blood flow to the brain. Even inhaling its fragrance can improve cognitive processing and brain functioning in relation to attention, virtual recognition memory, working memory, and visual-motor speed.
Drink a cup of cinnamon tea each day as well as sprinkle cinnamon powder on your toast, cereal, oatmeal, baked goods, smoothies, and fruit salads.
DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid present in fish oil, can slow the accumulation of tau, a protein that leads to the development of neurofibrillary tangles. Furthermore, DHA also reduces levels of the protein beta-amyloid, which can clump together in the brain to form plaque.
A study that was published in 2016 in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that seafood consumption is associated with less neuropathology.
To reduce your risk of contracting Alzheimer's, 1 serving of fresh salmon once a week is all you need.
Turmeric's antioxidant power supports overall brain health by helping remove plaque buildup from the brain and improving the flow of oxygen. This helps to slow down the effects of Alzheimer's.
Drink a glass of turmeric milk once a day and include it in your cooking to keep your brain sharp for many years to come.
7. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Extra-virgin olive oil contains oleo can, a phenolic compound that improves the production of key proteins and enzymes that break down amyloid plaques. Therefore, extra-virgin olive oil acts as a neuroprotective mechanism against Alzheimer's disease.
To reap the benefits of extra-virgin olive oil, use it when cooking and as an ingredient in sauces and dressings.
8. Coconut Oil
The medium-chain triglycerides present in coconut oil increase the level of ketone bodies in the blood - these work as alternative brain fuel and improve cognitive performance.
As little as one tablespoon of coconut oil per day will improve cognitive functioning and memory in people of all ages.
This vegetable is a very rich source of folate and vitamin C, both of which are very important when it comes down to brain functions. Furthermore, the carotenoids present in broccoli lower the levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that is linked to cognitive impairment. Broccoli can also relieve the effects of depression and mental exhaustion.
One cup of broccoli two to three times a week can significantly reduce your chance of suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's in your old age.
Due to their anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties, walnuts may help reduce the risk, delay the onset of, slow the progression of or even prevent Alzheimer's disease.
Walnuts help to protect the brain from the beta-amyloid protein, a protein that is often found in the brain of Alzheimer's patients. Furthermore, walnuts are a great source of zinc, a mineral that is great for protecting the brain from free-radical damage.
Simply eat a handful of walnuts each day to improve your cognitive health.
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