How Food Can Reduce Your Risk of Dementia

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If you want to avoid depression and dementia you also have to get your food right. The SAD—Standard American Diet—filled with sugar, pesticide-laden, processed foods increases your risk for Alzheimer’s disease. But you can decrease this risk today by eating in a brain healthy way, which I think of as:

  • Calorie smart, to keep your weight under control
  • Whole, fresh, real food filled with colorful vegetables
  • Eat protein and healthy fat at every meal to keep your blood sugar balanced and hunger away.  Fat is not the enemy. 60% of the solid weight of your brain is fat. If someone calls you a fat head, say “thank you.”  When doctors started to recommend low fat diets, we got sicker and fatter than ever.

Check this out –

People who have a healthy-fat-based diet— think fish, healthy oils, avocados, nuts, and seeds— have 42% less risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

People who have a healthy-protein-based diet have 21% less risk.

But people who have a simple carbohydrate-based diet—think bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, fruit juice and sugar—have a 400% increased risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease. The simple carbohydrates are the problem, not the fat. Food is medicine or it is poison. I often ask my patients, “If you had a million dollar race horse, would you ever feed it junk food?” Only if you want to lose all of your races.

Of course not, and YOU are worth so much more!

Along the same lines, when your gut is not healthy, your brain will not be healthy. Intestinal problems increase inflammation, that low-level fire that destroys your organs and increases your risk for anxiety disorders, depression, chronic pain, and dementia.

Most people don’t know that your gut contains 100 trillion bugs or bacteria that help you digest your food, boost your immunity, and make neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, that help your mood. In a healthy gut, 85% of the bacteria are helpful, while 15% are potential trouble makers. When we take antibiotics or eat pesticide-laden foods, it upsets this delicate balance and we are much more likely to get sick. Remember, pesticides kill bugs, even the ones in your gut. Eat right and take probiotics.

Increasing age is the biggest risk factor for dementia. As we age we have less room for error. I turned 61 this year and after looking at thousands of older brains, I know I am in a war for the health of mine. It is “normal” to have your brain shrink with age, but I want no part of it … and you should not just accept it as your fate. If you have any of the risk factors I’ve discussed, now is the time to get very serious about reversing these problems so that you can remain vibrant and sharp for as long as possible.

You do not want to end up as a burden on your family. Leslie, whose mother had Alzheimer’s, got out of the way. Her first SPECT scan showed really low overall activity. She was vulnerable to getting Alzheimer’s.

Rather than let the scan depress her, it motivated her and she just did everything we discussed. A year later her brain was markedly improved, as was her sleep, mood and memory. Plus, she got her kids in the act. She taught them to love their brains too. You are not stuck with the brain you have, you can make it better.

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