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A New Alzheimer’s Diet to Keep in MIND

Posted by on Sunday, March 12th, 2017

 brain healthy foods for the Alzheimer's diet

A new Alzheimer’s diet called the MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet may help to lower risks of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) by as much as 53%.

A recent Rush University Medical Center study funded by the National Institute on Aging aimed to discover if the MIND diet effected the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).  Martha Clare Morris, PhD, and colleagues developed the MIND diet which integrates foods from the Mediterranean diet and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets. 

The MIND diet is considered a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH diets, both of which have been shown in studies to lower the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.  Some studies have found that the two diets may also help protect against Alzheimer’s dementia. 

The MIND diet was developed after compiling years of past research results about the therapeutic and adverse effects of various foods on brain health.   

For years, scientists have known that diet can have a big impact on heart health and now the evidence is stacking up that an increase of some foods and restriction of others can contribute to brain health.

The MIND Diet Study

The study of 900 people ages 58 to 98 participated in neurological testing and answered questionnaires about daily food consumption.  Those study group members who followed the MIND diet recommendations closely were found to test higher in cognitive functioning tests.  In fact, they exhibited the range of cognitive functioning of a person 7 and a half years younger.

The study results, published in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, revealed that AD risks were lowered by 53% in those who “adhered rigorously” to the diet and by 35% in the participants who followed the diet “moderately.”

One of the most exciting outcomes of the study was the fact that even those who only moderately followed the diet reduced their risk of AD by a third.   

Nutritional epidemiologist, Martha Clare Morris, PHD, the lead author of the MIND diet study, said “Diet appears to be just one of many factors that play into who gets the disease.” “Genetics and other factors like smoking, exercise and education also play a role, but the MIND diet helped slow the rate of cognitive decline and protect against Alzheimer’s regardless of other risk factors” said Morris.

Morris went on to explain the MIND diet is an easier diet to follow than the Mediterranean diet, which is comprised of a daily diet of several servings for fruits and vegetables as well as fish.  In comparison, the MIND diet simply lists 10 brain healthy foods and 5 foods to avoid, see Part 2 of the MIND diet for details on the specific foods on each list. 

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Could a New Vaccine be the Key to Alzheimer’s Prevention

Posted by on Sunday, February 26th, 2017

Research for Alzheimer's Prevention

Scientists have been searching for decades to find clues to unlocking the mystery surrounding Alzheimer’s prevention and treatment.  Is it possible that the key to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an Alzheimer’s prevention vaccine?  

One study conducted by James Nicoll, professor of neuropathology at Southampton University, in the U.K., concluded that a vaccine might be able to initiate the immune system into removing amyloid beta protein (also called plaques) in the brain.  Amyloid is an abnormal sticky protein substance that typically accumulates in the brain as a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).  These plaques interfere with normal transmission of nerve cells in the brain, and serve as a  primary cause of memory loss in AD. 

Nicoll commented that while the vaccine stopped the production of amyloid in the brain (during the study), he was amazed to discover that the symptoms of cognitive decline,  and eventually the rate of early death, was NOT slowed down by the vaccine.

Alzheimer’s Prevention Theory

One theory resulting from Nicoll’s research is the possibility that if people could be given the vaccine before symptoms of AD became severe (no later than age 50), the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s could possibly be prevented.   

Alzheimer’s Prevention and Mouse Studies

Based on successful results from immunization in mouse AD models (in past clinical studies), more recent studies were implemented using active and passive immunizations.  But active immunization in humans resulted in an autoimmune inflammatory response, so those trials were stopped.   

Passive immunity, however has showed much more promise in slowing down the Alzheimer’s disease process in clinical studies. More recently, a study published in 2017 by PubMed.gov (The U.S. National Library of Medicine) from the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, looked at aged rabbits to observe the effect of a DNA Vaccine.

These immunizations were administered to rabbits using a gene gun (a biolistic particle delivery system) into the skin and the results were, absence of  inflammatory immune response.  Although positive effects on pathology of AD in the brain were seen in rabbit studies, these benefits have not yet been observed in humans.  However, based on the results of the test on rodents, some studies indicate immunization has a high likeliness of being safe and effective in future clinical Alzheimer’s prevention trials on humans.  

Alzheimer’s Prevention and the Immune System

In an article published by the journal of Science Translated Medicine, the function of plaques in the disease process is not clear. Rudolph Tanzi of Harvard Medical School asked the question, “does it play a role in the brain, or is it just garbage that accumulates?”  But recently Tanzi has shown that these plaques may be a defense against invading pathogens.  Tanzi’s research team at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, found that beta-amyloid may comprise part of the immune system, acting as an anti-microbial compound.  This theory certainly makes sense considering the positive results that previous studies have realized when it comes the impact of the vaccine on beta-amyloid.

To test the relationship between AD and the immune system the research team injected bacteria into the brains of mice AD models. The study indicated that plaques formed overnight.   “When you look in the plaques, each one had a single bacterium in it,” says Tanzi. “A single bacterium can induce an entire plaque overnight.”

Study Conclusions

The study concluded that there is a possibility that infections in the brain could trigger amyloid-beta plaque formation, as the sticky substance attempts to kill bacteria and other pathogens.  Then if amyloid does not get removed by the body quickly enough, the result may be tau tangles (another abnormal protein in the brain, common in AD) which leads to death to the nerve cells,  and ultimately comprises symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. 

The good news is that if AD, in fact, stems from pathogens in the brain, a vaccine may be possible in the future. 

Learn more about Alzheimer’s disease in the ground-breaking book written by Dr. Richard Isaacson, Harvard trained neurologist.  The book is called The Alzheimer’s Treatment and  Prevention Diet, you can CLICK HERE to read more about it.  

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Home Cooked Meals: A Primary Ingredient for The Alzheimer’s Diet

Posted by on Friday, February 17th, 2017

home cooking for the Alzheimer's diet

 

If you or a loved are attempting to adhere to the Alzheimer’s diet, you may be interested to learn about a recent study on home cooked meals.  The study, published by John Hopkins School of Public Health, (online in the journal Public Health Nutrition) says people who cook at home, may be getting many health benefits compared to those who eat out.  In fact, the study found those who make more home cooked meals are consuming less calories than others who don’t cook as often.  Find out about the conclusions of this study  and  how home cooking can enhance and support the Alzheimer’s diet.

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The Facts About Fiber for the Alzheimer’s Diet

Posted by on Thursday, February 9th, 2017

fiber for the Alzheimer's diet

Fiber is a vital nutrient for disease prevention and overall health, it also carries a lot of weight when considering some of the best  foods for the Alzheimer’s diet.

In today’s hectic world of rushing from place to place, it can be a real challenge to get enough fiber intake  each day.  You may be surprised to learn that the recommended daily intake of fiber is around 25 to 30 grams.  The fiber should be from a variety of food sources (not from supplements).  This recommendation comes from the American Heart Association.  Most Americans get only about half that amount each day.  So, what’s so great about fiber, and how can you ensure you are getting the right amount for a healthy Alzheimer’s diet?  

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The Link Between Alzheimer’s Prevention and Type II Diabetes

Posted by on Sunday, February 5th, 2017

 diabetes and lzheimer's prevention

Research studies indicate there may be  a close relationship between several disease entities and Alzheimer’s disease, in fact, Alzheimer’s prevention measures should encompass prevention strategies of other disorders including, cancer, heart disease, obesity, and particularly Type 2 diabetes (referred to as T2B in the research arena).  The incidence of T2B has risen so dramatically in recent years that it’s become known as a new global epidemic. Learning about the risks for diabetes is part of an effective Alzheimer’s prevention/education strategy. But what does diabetes have to do with Alzheimer’s prevention?

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Infammation Promoting Foods to Avoid as Part of a Healthy Alzheimer’s Diet

Posted by on Thursday, January 26th, 2017

 foods for the Alzheimer's diet

Many recent studies are exploring the possibility that inflammation could be a prime factor in the Alzheimer’s disease process. The two most common physiologic signs of Alzheimer’s in the brain are, plaques of amyloid beta protein, and tangles of tau protein. Chronic inflammation is also thought to play a major role in Alzheimer’s disease.   For those who want to maintain a healthy Alzheimer’s diet, it is beneficial to know which foods lend themselves to increasing inflammation in the body.

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Could the Okinawan Diet Help with Alzheimer’s Prevention?

Posted by on Sunday, December 11th, 2016

 Bitter melon for Alzheimer's prevention

When considering healthy diets, many experts were curious about the food eaten by some of the longest living people on the planet-the Okinawans.  This Island, located off the shores of Japan, is a geographic area with more inhabitants surviving to a 100-year age span (and beyond) than any other known region of the world.  In fact, there are 25 centenarians in every 100,000 inhabitants of Okinawa.  Why are these people living so long, what do they eat? Could the Okinawan diet help with Alzheimer’s prevention?

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10 Tips for a Healthy Alzheimer’s Prevention Holiday Meal

Posted by on Thursday, November 24th, 2016

holiday meal for Alzheimer's prevention

If you have a family member or close friend with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), this holiday season may bring more challenges and stress than usual. Holiday parties, and gatherings may prove to be difficult to integrate into your daily routine, out of town holiday guests might be overwhelming, but  making a brain health holiday meal doesn’t have to be difficult. But how can a traditional holiday dinner be transformed into a brain healthy Alzheimer’s prevention meal?

10 Tips for Alzheimer’s Prevention Holiday Meals

Here are some tips for transforming an unhealthy holiday meal full of saturated fat and processed sugar into a meal that promotes brain health.

  1. Substitute healthy sweeteners such as stevia or coconut sugar in recipes that call for processed white table sugar. Although maple syrup, molasses and honey are considered high glycemic index foods, eating foods made with these sweeteners in moderation is better than ingesting foods high in processed sugar. 
  2. Use a healthy fat such as virgin olive or unrefined virgin coconut oil for baking or frying in place of saturated fat in butter or shortening.
  3. Use spices to add flavor to foods instead of high fat content.  Examples are nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon or even citrus juices.
  4. Select low fat cream cheese when stuffing the celery and don’t forget plenty of raw fresh vegetables (consider adding a healthy dip such as hummus) on the relish tray.
  5. Add unsweetened apple sauce or mashed bananas and reduce the fat content (butter or oil) in baked desserts.
  6. Substitute canned coconut milk or condensed skim milk for recipes that call for full fat condensed milk.
  7. Substitute cauliflower or purple potatoes with the skin on for traditional peeled brown potatoes in the mashed potato recipe.
  8. Be sure to skim the oil content off the top before making homemade gravy.
  9. Use the solid portion of canned coconut milk, whip it with the mixer and add some stevia and vanilla to replace traditional high fat and sugar containing whipped cream.  
  10. Make healthy holiday inspired recipes such as a low-fat homemade egg nog smoothie recipe for dessert, (featured below).

Healthy Eggnog Smoothie

 

Ingredients

  •      15 ounce can full fat coconut milk
  •      1 frozen bananas
  •      1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  •      1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  •     1/2 teaspoon clove
  •     2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  •     1-2 pitted dates
  •     Sweeten with stevia to taste

 Directions- Combine each of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth, pour into a glass and drink.

 Learn more about the Alzheimer’s prevention and the brain healthy diet by CLICKING HERE to purchase your copy of The Alzheimer’s Treatment and Prevention Diet book, written by Harvard trained neurologist, Dr. Richard Isaacson, M.D., today.

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Foods You Don’t Need to Buy Organic for the Alzheimer’s Diet

Posted by on Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

foods for the Alzheimer's diet

Although eating organic foods is recommended as part of a health Alzheimer’s diet, there are some foods you don’t necessarily need to buy organic.  A healthy Alzheimer’s diet for people on a budget may include some organic and some non-organic foods.  But how do you know which foods are healthy to purchase non-organic? 

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Does a Low Fat Diet Promote Alzheimer’s Prevention?

Posted by on Sunday, November 6th, 2016

low fat diet is not for Alzheimer's prevention

A new publication released from Harvard Health confirms that counting calories is no longer the best stand-alone method of losing weight.  Recent research is pointing to the fact that the advice predominantly adopted in the past, on burning more calories than you consume, does not necessarily translate to a successful weight loss program for everyone.  While it may come as a relief to know that sweating off every calorie you have consumed is no longer necessary, you may be wondering just how to shed those unwanted pounds as part of a healthy Alzheimer’s prevention program.

Back in the 60’s, The Sugar Research Foundation (SRF) wanted to highlight the hazards of fats while downplaying any risks of sugar consumption.  The Sugar Research Foundation funded research done by Harvard scientists to expose data pointing to the fact that fats, having more calories than sugar, were the culprit when it came to a healthy diet.  The SRF wanted to instill a common perception in the publics’ eye that and that avoiding fat in the diet altogether was the answer to weight loss and cardiovascular health.  The results of the research studies in favor of the fat free diet were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1967.  There was no disclosure about the fact that the sugar industry funded the research project. 

Once fat was omitted from food, it didn’t taste very good, so the food industry began adding more processed carbohydrates (sugar) to foods to improve the taste.  This was the beginning of the low-fat diet craze that started to ramp up in the 60’s and prevailed for decades. 

New Research on Calorie Counting, Fats, and Sugar

Today scientific findings counteract previous nutritional facts disclosed in the late 60s about the health benefits of fats and carbohydrates.  Dr. David Ludwig, a professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, says “Overall, these processed carbohydrates are worse than the fats they replaced. ”Ludwig says, “It was this calorie-focus that got us into trouble with the low-fat diet in the first place,” said Ludwig.

So just how did the medical research industry get it so wrong when it came to healthy eating,  weight loss and a heart healthy diet?  According to the Harvard Health report, a recent review in JAMA Internal Medicine revealed that before the 1980s researchers were not required to declare any type of conflicts of interest when publishing research study findings.  This resulted to a higher potential for data results to be influenced by funding sources-like the food industry.

Healthy Eating Supported by New Scientific Studies

So now that we are on the right track when it comes to publishing more accurate, non-biased information on nutrition and health, how do we constitute a brain healthy diet?  Considering that  when calorie counting alone is not the answer, which foods are best for Alzheimer’s prevention, heart health and weight loss?

“Today you can look at food differently,” says Harvard Health.  “Counting calories alone doesn’t work because ultimately it matters where those calories come from; this matters more than the number of calories ingested,” says Celia Smoak Spell, Assistant Editor, Harvard Health Publications. While fats do, in fact, have more calories than sugar, that’s no longer the sole premise on determining which foods are healthier.  If it were the case, it would lead to the logical conclusion that a sugar laden soft drink is healthier than a handful of nuts, says Harvard Health.  Bearing in mind ONLY the calorie content of foods does NOT take into consideration exactly how each food is broken down in the body to be used for energy.

The Glycemic Index and Alzheimer’s Prevention

The focus for a healthy Alzheimer’s prevention diet today is on eating whole non-processed foods and selecting carbohydrates that are low on the glycemic index.  The glycemic index is a measure of how fast a food containing carbohydrates is absorbed and subsequently, how quickly insulin levels are spiked.  Too many insulin spikes can potentially result in type 2 diabetes.    These low glycemic index foods are usually high in fiber and include choices such as apples and other fruit with the peeling and/or with a lot of fiber, whole grains such as steel cut oats, quinoa, and brown rice, and most vegetables.  Portion control is also an important principal in eating a healthy Alzheimer’s prevention diet.  “Dr. Ludwig views the glycemic index as a more accurate measure of a food’s value (good or bad),” says Harvard Health.  “When something has a low glycemic index, it raises your blood sugar levels slowly, increasing your insulin levels gradually.”

For the most part, potion control and regular exercise has taken the place of calorie counting when it comes to weight loss.  You can eat all the healthy food choices available and still gain weight if you consume too much food. 

Learn more about Alzheimer’s prevention by CLICKING HERE to purchase Dr. Isaacson’s book, Alzheimer’s Treatment and Prevention diet.