I’m not sure… but whether it’s a creative block or the early onset of Alzheimer’s is pretty clear; at least to me it is. Now what was I talking about? Oh, eating healthy and keeping the brain sharp as a tack.
Now the brain is no mere mechanical organ, nor is it simply a storage unit for the countless memories of a lifetime. It is the combination of these things and it also contains an enormous capacity for perception, empathy, reasoning, analyses and so much more. In some ways it could be said that “you” reside there. And without going far into a spiritual discussion about ego and identity let’s agree that whoever one “is” the destruction of the brains abilities through dementia or Alzheimer’s is devastating.
As people get older, globs of a protein called amyloid accumulate between our neurons (nerve cells) and we slow down mentally and become sluggish. Inflammation and oxidative damage accompany this protein buildup which nicks the cell membranes and interrupts the signals between neurons and as this happens we may experience a few “senior moments”. For many this presents no real problem but sometimes a downward dementia spiral can occur if over time too many proteins gunk together and too much inflammation and oxidative damage erodes cells.
How can this be prevented? Um… oh right! Overall, medical science is offering some hope. “For the majority of people, studies are showing you can probably slow down cognitive decline enough to escape disease altogether,” says Greg Cole, Ph.D., associate director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at the University of California, Los Angeles. And although no one knows exactly why, studies show that healthy eating habits can help. We’ve got some clues and tips. If I could just remember where I put my notes…
“Somewhere under the sea..” Oh right FISH! According to research one of the most powerful anti-aging nutrients is fish because it is full of those wonderful anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. An observational study of 3,718 elderly people in the Chicago Health and Aging Project found that eating just one fish meal a week is linked to a 10 percent slower rate of cognitive decline and other research has found that fatty fish like tuna or salmon are associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
In another study on brain deterioration, research found that diets rich in vitamin-E-containing foods like grains, nuts, milk and vegetable oils were associated with reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease as well. Ground whole grains and nut butters will still contain vitamin E so you can easily get plenty of these in your diet. Other antioxidants, such as the polyphenols found in colorful fruits and vegetables, the catechins in tea, and even compounds in herbs like sage and turmeric, are all showing promise in cell culture and animal studies so berry filled smoothies and fresh juice from leafy greens and carrots is a great way to get this into your diet.
The B vitamin folate is also effective. Some large-scale observational studies have linked high dietary folate in foods like leafy greens and beans with less cognitive decline so again get into the grain and juicing.
Well, I think that’s it… Is it?