Foods Proven To Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
Over 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. And each year 700,000 of them die as a result of the disease. That’s makes it one of the top 10 killers, and very little is known about it.
But the good news is that research shows that there are some powerful and effective ways to prevent the disease. And some of those ways are food. Eating the right foods have been shown to protect the brain and stave off disease.
In today’s article, I’m going to focus on a group of nutrients found in food. These nutrients are called polyphenols. And they are proven to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. I’ll tell you what they are and how you can find them to stay healthy.
Understanding Amyloid Plaques
One of the things that is known about Alzheimer’s disease is that it is produced by a buildup of plaques in the brain. The type of plaques are called amyloid plaques.
Amyloids are a type of protein. They are the result of proteins folding incorrectly. And normally, in healthy people, amyloids are removed so they don’t cause any problems.
Unfortunately, in some people, amyloids aren’t removed quickly enough. So they build up, and they start to form plaques.
When the plaques are in the brain, the result is Alzheimer’s disease.
So obviously, anything that naturally helps the body to remove amyloids will be protective against Alzheimer’s disease.
Polyphenols are a class of nutrients found in plants and animals. They do all kinds of important things such as controlling growth hormones, protecting against UV damage, and preventing infections. When we eat polyphenols, our health benefits. And one of the ways that science has shown that polyphenols help is by clearing out amyloid plaques.
Polyphenols are found in high concentrations in many fruits and vegetables as well as tea, coffee, and chocolate. And the polyphenol content of these foods may be part of why they are so healthy.
When it comes to clearing amyloid plaques, all polyphenols may be helpful. But only a few have been proven to provide powerful Alzheimer’s prevention. They include myricetin, fisetin, curcumin, silibinin, catechins, and ferulic acid.
Myricetin is a polyphenol found in red grapes, cranberries, blueberries, parsley, currants, and walnuts. It’s been shown to protect brain cells against the damage of amyloid plaques. And it is a powerful anti-inflammatory, which helps to prevent plaque buildup.
Fisetin is found in strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and apples (in the peels). In studies fisetin has been found to prevent amyloids from clumping together. That means they can’t form plaques. What’s more, fisetin has been shown to protect brain cells. It’s been shown to not only reduce Alzheimer’s disease, but also other brain diseases.
Curcumin is found in the spice turmeric. Turmeric has many brain protective effects, and curcumin accounts for one of them. Curcumin has been shown to reduce iron buildup, which is associated with Alzheimer’s disease. And it is a powerful anti-inflammatory that reduces plaque buildup.
Silibinin is also known as silybin. It’s found in the seeds of the milk thistle plant. Milk thistle seeds have been used for thousands of years to protect the liver and for general antioxidant benefits. But recent research has shown that they can actually prevent Alzheimer’s disease. They do that not only by preventing amyloid plaques, but also by preventing excessive breakdown of important neurotransmitters.
Catechins are found in large amounts in tea and in chocolate. The most famous catechin is called EGCG, found in green tea, which is one of the reasons green tea is healthy. The catechins found in chocolate are only found in chocolate that is minimally processed. Look for dark chocolate or even better, raw chocolate (cacao). Catechins have been proven to block plaque build up and to even help reverse Alzheimer’s.
Finally, ferulic acid is found in coffee, apples (in the peels), artichoke, and oranges. It’s long been known that coffee consumption reduces Alzheimer’s risk, and caffeine is one of the reasons. But ferulic acid is another powerful health benefit to coffee. So enjoy your morning coffee and a cup of orange juice, and snack on an apple in the afternoon for your health.
Putting It Into Practice
In the above, I’ve given you some powerful foods you can use to protect your brain. The key to success is that you have to eat them regularly.
If you enjoy coffee, then you’ve now got yet another reason to drink a cup or two in the morning. And if you enjoy chocolate, then you’ve got a good reason to eat a small amount of dark chocolate daily. When it comes to chocolate, however, highly processed chocolate has none of the polyphenols. So opt for minimally processed dark chocolate or raw cacao.
Be sure to eat a variety of fruit regularly as well. Oranges are a good choice. So are berries. Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries are packed full of polyphenols. Add berries to your breakfast both for the taste and for the brain protection benefits.
When it comes to curcumin, if you enjoy the taste of turmeric, a teaspoon of the powdered spice per day is the least expensive way to get the brain protection benefits. Otherwise, you can find encapsulated products.
Silibinin can be found in milk thistle seeds, which are available in supplement form.
You don’t have to eat all of these things every day. But by being mindful to include as many of them as possible on a regular basis, you’ll be keeping your brain in top shape.