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Alzheimer's and Brain Health

Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. This can include symptoms like decline in memory, reasoning, or other thinking skills. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, it accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases. It is a degenerative brain disease that is caused by complex brain changes following cell damage. More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s and one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.

10 early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s:

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life

  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems

  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks

  4. Confusion with time or place

  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships

  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing

  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps

  8. Decreased or poor judgment

  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities

  10. Changes in mood and personality

Some factors that may impact brain aging:

  1. Keeping the brain active

  2. Exercise

  3. Sleep

  4. General health

  5. Blood pressure

  6. Stress

  7. Genetics

Foods that have been connected to improving brain health:

Berries. These have powerful neuroprotective properties and have been shown to have a role in both preventing and remediating cognitive decline. Choose fresh or frozen blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, mulberries, black currants, blackberries, or cranberries. Dark leafy greens. Research shows that those who enjoy a daily helping of leafy greens have a slower rate of cognitive decline. Choose fresh or lightly sautéed arugula, basil, beet greens, butter leaf, cilantro, collard greens, dandelion greens, endive, kale, mustard greens, spinach, chard, and mustard greens. Nuts and seeds. Nuts protect our hearts, brains, and are an excellent source of nutrition and fiber. Choose organic, raw or dry roasted walnuts, macadamias, pecans, pistachios, almonds, and flaxseeds. Salmon. High omega 3 content, specifically DHA, which is important for aging brains. Choose fresh or flash frozen, wild caught from the Pacific such as sockeye, king, coho, or pink salmon. Olives and olive oil. Rich in polyphenols- micronutrients packed with antioxidants- which contribute to protective qualities for the brain. Primarily use as a finishing oil (not heated), choose highest polyphenol content, extra virgin, and in dark glass bottle. Coffee. Studies show caffeine and coffee can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease even in seniors who already have some form of dementia. Decaf can also be beneficial. Coconut. Rich in a type of fat called MCTs (medium chain triglycerides)- Research shows that when some people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s Disease eat a diet rich in MCTs, they had improved memory, attention, and cognition. Choose virgin and avoid heating above 350 degrees F. Cruciferous vegetables. Among the most nutrient dense of all vegetables, these are powerful detoxifiers. Choose raw or lightly steamed or sautéed leafy greens (arugula, collard greens, dandelion greens, mustard greens, Swiss chard, watercress), alliums (garlic, leeks, onions, shallots), and brassicas (bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower). Alzheimer’s Association

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