Monday, November 12, 2007

Can Your Diet Prevent Alzheimer's

Research has shown convincing evidence that dietary habits practiced during adulthood are important contributors to age-related cognitive decline and dementia risk.

The study, entitled Dietary Influences on Cognitive Function with Aging, was recently published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. The findings revealed that the cognitive ability of adults with diabetes are especially sensitive to dietary choices. A decline in memory function after meals were noted especially if simple carbohydrate foods are consumed. Although the physiology behind the findings are not fully known changes in brain insulin levels likely contributes.
This mental decline can be prevented through healthy food choices at meals. The findings suggest that weight maintenance reduces the risk of developing obesity-associated disorders, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and is an important component of preserving cognitive health.
“This type of information should be able to empower the individual, knowing that he/she can be actively engaged in activities and lifestyles that should support cognitive health with aging,” says Carol Greenwood, author of the study.

Dr. Zach's Comment:
  • Mental Decline and Alzheimer's disease is a real fear for all of us as we age, but recent research continues to show that this disease is much more a product of our lifestyle than originally thought.
  • In fact, I'm confident that Alzheimer's disease will be labeled as another type of diabetes in the not too distant future.
  • So, what do you do to prevent the onset of these debilitating diseases. The answer lies in the choices you make each day about your life and health. According to this research, modifying your diet is an extremely important start. Eliminating or drastically limiting simple carbohydrates from your diet is the first step. Replacing them with nutrient dense foods like whole fruit, vegetables, meats, and whole grains is the next. Follow that with daily exercise and you'll be heading in the right direction.
  • What are simple carbohydrates? Refined sugars and refined flour are the two big factors in our diet today. Look at what happens to your body when you drink a caffeinated soda:
  1. Within the first 10 minutes, 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. This is 100 percent of your recommended daily intake, and the only reason you don’t vomit as a result of the overwhelming sweetness is because phosphoric acid cuts the flavor.
  2. Within 20 minutes, your blood sugar spikes, and your liver responds to the resulting insulin burst by turning massive amounts of sugar into fat.
  3. Within 40 minutes, caffeine absorption is complete; your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises, and your livers dumps more sugar into your bloodstream.
  4. Around 45 minutes, your body increases dopamine production, which stimulates the pleasure centers of your brain – a physiologically identical response to that of heroin.
  5. After 60 minutes, you’ll start to have a sugar crash. You become fatigued, easily upset, and begin to crave more sugar and caffeine.