Worried about Alzheimer's? Your diet is the key to maintaining your Brain

Brain Health and Diet PhotoYes, your brain health depends on your diet. With the constant increase in new cases of Alzheimer’s disease, you like many other people are probably very sensitive to the idea of developing dementia. Therefore, you may be trying to exercise more, eat healthier, and improve your memory skills. Well, research has now proved that avoiding sugar and carbohydrates in your diet can significantly decrease your risk of developing a neurodegenerative disease.

Your lifestyle affects your Brain

Believe it or not, a number of factors affect your cognition. Examples of these factors include chemicals, cosmetics, and environmental pollutants. In other words, more elements than just diet have been linked to causing cognitive decline. Yet, your diet is a major contributor to your brain health.

Unhealthy diet disrupts Cognition

Recently, the Mayo Clinic conducted a study to determine how exactly processed refined sugars and carbohydrates affect the brain. Their results were rather convincing. The 940 participants were older individuals between the ages of 70 and 89 who did not show any signs of cognitive issues. After monitoring the participants’ diet and brain function for four years, researchers learned that 200 of the participants had developed deficiencies in judgment, language, memory, or thinking. Those participants with deficiencies fell into two categories:  high carbohydrate intake and high sugar intake.
  • High carbohydrate intake—this group was estimated to have a 1.9 times greater risk of developing cognitive decline
  • High sugar intake—this group was estimated to have a 1.5 times greater risk of developing cognitive decline

Fat is good for your Brain...!

Surprisingly, participants with the highest intakes of fat and protein actually reduced their risk of cognitive decline.
  • High fat intake—reduced risk of cognitive decline by 42 percent
  • High protein intake—reduced risk of cognitive decline by 21 percent
Previously it was thought that consuming too much fat compromises your health, but these results suggest that fat and protein are definitely better for your brain than carbohydrates or sugar. As a matter of fact, when researchers accounted for fat and protein consumption in the participants’ diets, they determined that individuals with a high intake of carbohydrates are at a 3.6 times greater risk of developing a decline in cognition overall.

Your Brain does need some Sugar

Sugar, in the form of glucose, is the natural fuel for your brain and is essential for brain functioning. It is obtained from carbohydrates; grains, legumes, fruit and vegetables. So completely eliminating sugar from your diet is not recommended. However too much sugar or refined carbohydrates at one time, can deprive your brain of glucose.  This reduces your brain's ability to concentrate, remember, and learn. What is recommended is that you ‘Ask a Naturopath’ for help in designing the perfect diet for you and your brain health.