Diet is an important part of your physical wellbeing, but it also plays and important role in your cognitive health as well. Your cognitive wellbeing is closely tied to your physical health, as your physical health can heavily affect your brain. Your diet may be able to lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Learn what foods you should add to your diet to protect your cognitive health.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Common in heart-healthy Mediterranean diets, these fatty acids may help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by slowing cognitive decline. Fatty fish, such as salmon, herring, and white tuna are good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA. High levels of DHA are used in brain development, and they may help prevent cognitive decline. Omega-3 fatty acids can also counter inflammation and protein build up in the brain.
Vitamins C & E
Vitamins are also important for your cognitive health. Our brain activity is thanks to millions of chemical reactions, however, these reaction can create and unfortunate by-product. Free radical are produced by our bodies’ natural chemical reactions, and these unstable molecules can cause damage to cells. This damage can contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease and other mental illnesses. Antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, can help clean up the free radicals your body produces. Foods such as red peppers, currants, broccoli, strawberries, olive oil, and almonds may reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s by preventing free radical damage.
Plants have a protective arsenal of chemicals called polyphenols, which protect them from solar radiation and animals. Flavonoids are one of the toughest of these chemicals, and are powerful antioxidants. Fruits like apples, grapes, blueberries, cranberries, and grapefruit are great sources of flavonoids. Vegetables can also provide the antioxidant, which is found in asparagus, brussel sprouts, cabbage, garlic, kale, onions, peas, and spinach.
Curcumin is a product found in turmeric, a prime ingredient in curry powder. Curried food may help reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s, since curcumin is a potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-amyloid compound. A key sign of Alheimer’s disease is thick amyloid plaques which build up along neural networks, due to protein build up in the brain. Curcumin may fight Alzheimer’s disease in multiple ways, by eliminating free radicals, excess protein, and amyloid buildup.
Certain B vitamins, including folate, can greatly hinder cognitive ability if they are lacking. Folate, along with vitamins B6 and B12, inhibit the amino acid homocysteine. This amino acid can impair brain function and dramatically increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Dark leafy greens and dried beans are two excellent sources of folate.
Researchers have found that drinking up to 12 ounces of wine a day can drastically reduce the risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
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