It’s hard to know just how much our present actions can affect our future. Even the far-off future.
Everything from your decision to wear sunscreen this summer to what you snack on could impact your 60-year-old self. While nutrition and a healthy lifestyle should be adopted so that you feel great and fit now, it should also be considered for the benefits that last beyond the immediate future.
In fact, researchers have been studying the effects of diet on the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s is a brain disorder that slowly deteriorates your memory, eventually eliminating one’s ability to carry out simple tasks. Though it typically doesn’t affect a person until their 60s, it’s believed that brain damage actually begins a decade or so before symptoms appear.
Alzheimer’s currently affects over five million Americans, and is ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. It’s a heartbreaking disease with many variables that continues to be cure-less.
Scientists have spent years researching the cause and potential cures for Alzheimer’s, and though they’re still not 100 percent sure, they believe that diet plays a major role in slowing the disease.
Specific foods are being tested to see how they relate to Alzeheimer’s. A registered dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio told Everyday Health, “A few studies found a correlation between high dietary fish with omega-3 fatty acid and a decrease in developing Alzheimer’s. However, more studies must be conducted before any conclusions can be drawn.”
Another theory is connected to an amino acid in the blood called homocysteine. This amino acid is believed to attribute to the risk of dementia, and researches are trying to determine if taking extra vitamins that break down this acid could help prevent the disease. Such vitamins include B6 and B12, as well as folate. B6 and B12 can be found in foods like fish, poultry, meat, eggs and dairy.
Doctors also believe coconut oil could affect the development of Alzheimer’s. A study at the University of Oxford suggests that, though temporary, Alzheimer’s and dementia patients have seen short-term benefits from using coconut oil.
Though it is an oil, it’s a heart-healthy one that is free of cholesterol and trans-fats. Plus, it improves brain health. The research implies that the oil’s ketones — byproducts of the breakdown of fats in the body — contribute to brain health. Therefore, boosting ketones improves cognitive development.
The best kind of coconut oil to use for the prevention of dementia is organic, cold-pressed, non-hydrogenated virgin coconut oil. Along with adding it to your food, you can also eat a spoonful on its own.
Coconut oil also acts as an antioxidant, which doctors believe play a role in preventing the disease as well. Researches have found that antioxidants help reduce free radicals. Free radicals are believed to destroy the body’s cells, which make them vulnerable to aging and damage.
Other foods high in antioxidants that can be freely added to your diet include berries, nuts, beans and green tea. Studies have shown that rats and mice bred to develop the disease saw improvement when fed berries.
Aside from preventing dementia, antioxidant-rich foods and vitamins are beneficial to your body’s health — so there’s really no harm in introducing them into your diet. Overall, the lesson here is that our present actions extend beyond our current situations. Plan ahead.
So what can you do to help prevent Alzheimer’s?
- Introduce B6 and B12 vitamins naturally by eating fish, poultry and eggs.
- Don’t shy away from using heart-healthy coconut oil in day-to-day life.
- Eat antioxidant-rich foods like berries, nuts and green tea.