Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Superfoods to Help Fight Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive brain disorder that gradually destroys memory and the ability to think and reason. Recent estimates show approximately 4 million people in the U.S. have dementia, most with Alzheimer's disease. By 2050, that number could be as high as 16 million. This disease is devastating not only for those that are stricken with it, but for their families and loved ones. And it is one of the fastest growing diseases in the modern world.

However, there is hope. In fact, just by making some simple adjustments in your diet to include foods high in folate, you can help reduce your risk. According to recent research, older adults whose diets were high in folate reduced their risk of Alzheimer's disease by half compared with those whose diets contain less than the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA).

Folate has also been shown to lower blood levels of homocysteine, a risk factor for heart disease. High homocysteine levels, as well as decreased folate and vitamin B-12 levels, have also been associated with stroke and Alzheimer's disease.

Ambersweet oranges, a new cold-resistant orang...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A healthy, well-balanced diet is your best option to get the folate you need.  Be sure it includes at least five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day. Foods rich in folate include oranges and bananas, dark leafy green vegetables, asparagus, broccoli, liver, and many types of beans and peas, including lima, lentil and garbanzo, as well as some fortified whole-grain breads and cereals. 

The antioxidants in apples could help protect the brain from the type of damage that triggers Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, according to recent research. But it’s estimated that on average Americans only eat approximately one-seventh of an apple per day, nowhere near enough. If you have a good-quality juicer, try juicing fresh apples. The fresh, unpasteurized juice is delicious and full of vitamins. (You can even add some heart-healthy fiber to your diet by using the leftover apple pulp from your juicer to make breads and muffins.) 

Blueberries are an awesome food choice as well to arm your body to combat declining mental capacities.  It’s also imperative to avoid processed vegetable oils and choose healthy natural fats instead so your circulatory system stays healthy.  Research shows that oxidized fats (such as hydrogenated oils) cause inflammation that damages blood vessels and cell walls. Healthy blood flow and blood vessels lessen the chance of brain damage due to strokes or compromised circulation. 

For more information on Alzheimer's disease, and some natural ways to combat it, visit our main blog.

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