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Brain Healthy Thanksgiving Makeovers for the Alzheimer’s Diet

Posted by on Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

Serving a bountiful feast to celebrate Thanksgiving is a wonderful tradition honoring family and friends during the holiday season, but what about those who are attempting to stay on a healthy Alzheimer’s diet?  Is there a simple way to incorporate a brain healthy Alzheimer’s diet at the Thanksgiving dinner table?

Healthy Holiday Alternatives for the Alzheimer’s Diet

There are some delicious and simple ways of substituting healthy alternatives for some of the not so healthy foods that commonly appear on the Thanksgiving table each year.  Believe it or not it’s not too difficult to forgo the rich calorie laden gravy and buttered potatoes as well as cream, sugar and fat in those tasty desserts, for healthier foods that help promote Alzheimer’s nutrition

 Thanksgiving Alternatives for Alzheimer's Diet

Source; Natural Healthy Concepts

 Everyone knows that the turkey is usually the highlight of a traditional Thanksgiving meal. While turkey is quite healthy for Alzheimer’s nutrition when cooked properly, unfortunately the fat laden gravy that is poured over the top is not so healthy.  Lean turkey is a great source of low fat protein and according to a recent report by Harvard Healthy Publication turkey is “easy on the heart.”   Caloric intake of turkey is lower if you stick to the white meat without the skin. Dark meat contains as much as two times the fat content, and the skin will add a surplus of unwanted saturated fat.  A three ounce serving of white meat contains 26 grams of protein and under 2 grams of fat.   Remember to monitor the portion of turkey on your plate, and avoid the trend of deep frying-slow baking is the healthier alternative.  See recipes for healthy Thanksgiving side dishes by clicking on the “continue reading” tab below. 

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World Alzheimer’s Day 2013: Appreciation & 7 Tips for Caregivers

Posted by on Saturday, September 21st, 2013

Today, September 21, 2013 is World Alzheimer’s Day. If you are a family member of a loved one with Alzheimer’s you may already know far too well how offering help with AD can change the role for each member of the family.  We admire and appreciate all of the dedication, devotion and love that primary caregivers and family members yield when it comes to meeting the demands for care of those with AD.  Caregivers may ask themselves; is there a better way to cope? Here are several tips and helpful links for education and support:

Although there have been tremendous strides in 2013 (and 2014 to come) in medical research in regard to research of potential therapies, including lifestyle and diet changes for Alzheimer’s,  there is still no known cure for the disease. There is, however, a tremendous amount of recent evidence that has shown that specific lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of AD, protect and even improve memory function. For more specific tips on the caregiving aspect of the disease, read below. 

Caretakers help with Alzheimer's

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Alzheimer’s Diet Book Q&A: Grain Brain Connection

Posted by on Thursday, September 5th, 2013

We often get questions from readers via our Facebook page and over email – here is a common question we recently got from one of our Alzheimer’s Diet book readers.

QUESTION:

i have a question about this diet- i totally love the book & the info! however, i have been on a similar diet before- for weight loss & well-being ( came from Dr. Oz). however when i had lost the needed weight, i eventually went off the diet, because i couldn’t eat enough to maintain my weight. i have started your diet- pretty much- except for the lowest carb count- i have lost 5 pounds in maybe 3 weeks- don’t have much more i should lose- so my question is- how do you eat enough to not lose weight?? i am not a protein lover- you want low carbs, no sugar, no “white” things- what do i add to maintain weight?? please advise!!

ANSWER:

Great question! Maintaining weight is really about the total calories you are taking in, balanced against how many you’re expending, but that generally stays pretty constant unless you make drastic changes to your activity level. So, rather than add different less Brain-Healthy foods, it would be preferable to eat more Brain-Healthy foods. That is, a larger quantity of specific Brain-Healthy foods (see below for examples).

One of the key points about any diet (and especially The Alzheimer’s Diet) is that important aspects may need to be tailored for each individual. This is based on a variety of factors, like starting weight, current/past medical problems, and family history (to name a few). This is why we stress that before starting any dietary changes, it is always important to consult with a qualified medical professional and not make any changes without approval by the treating physicians. That being said, when it comes to weight loss on the Alzheimer’s diet, that is a common “side effect” for most people (we tend to hear that people will lose 5-10 pounds or so within the first 1-2 months, and oftentimes more).  If a person is close to their ideal body weight to begin with, and that person does not want to lose any more weight that occurs due to carbohydrate restriction, one helpful strategy is to increase Brain-Healthier fats (like those found in olive-oil, avocado, nuts, certain fatty fish, and seeds) and protein (like those found in lean turkey and chicken, or if you are a vegetarian or vegan, beans, nuts, seeds and vegetables). ‘Healthy fats’ deliver 9 calories/gram as opposed to only 4 calories/gram with protein and carbs so eaters will be getting more calories with less food. As discussed in The Alzheimer’s Diet book, this Mediterranean-style diet has been shown to have a number of health benefits, including brain protective effects. As was mentioned in the question, the less white “empty” carbs and sugars the better to reduce the drain of grain brain.

For those who are still finding it hard to maintain their weight this way, increasing Brain-Healthier carbs like blueberries and strawberries, and vegetables in general (if its green, it usually means eat it!) could help, as well as tailoring an exercise program that focuses on weight training and building muscle mass, in addition to cardio in moderation.

Another question recently came in (from one of our favorite readers), who asked about what types of “super” fruits and veggies could be substituted when our favorite berries (strawberries and blueberries) are either hard to find or become expensive over the winter months. While the best scientific evidence supports these two berries (Devore and colleagues, Harvard Medical School), others like raspberries, blackberries may also help, as well as pomegranate (just watch for too much added sugar if drinking juice!) and based on the latest research, antioxidants in cocoa powder, or red wine (~1 glass in women, 1-2 in men) with polyphenols, as a seasonal berry substitute.

Thanks for all your great questions and hope this helps!

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11 Foods to Power Up the Brain: Interview with Dr. Isaacson in More Magazine

Posted by on Sunday, August 25th, 2013

Read the article in this months issue of More magazine, “11 Foods That Age-Proof Your Brain“.  Dr. Isaacson, co-author of The Alzheimer’s Diet book with Dr. Ochner, and several other national experts are interviewed by Stacey Colino about the latest scientific evidence for diet and alzheimers risk reduction, alzheimers prevention and memory loss treatment.

When it comes to Alzheimers disease (AD) several risk factors like diabetes type 2, metabolic syndrome, and high blood pressure, been found to to increase ones risk for AD. Dietary changes may not only help reduce AD risk directly and even help manage memory loss symptoms, but also help these other medical problems too.

Whether a person develops AD is based on a variety of complicated factors, with advancing age being the #1 risk factor. Risk factors that can be modified (like dietary changes, blood pressure control, etc) have been showed in population based studies to delay the onset of AD by several years. When it comes to risk factors in general, there are a lot of pieces to the puzzle, and while many AD patients may not have any risk factors at all, their disease may have been more related to advancing age and/or genetics. For more info on this you can read these recent blog posts: www.theadplan.com/blog/wordpress/2012/08/alzheimers-risk-symptoms-memory-loss/ or www.theadplan.com/blog/wordpress/2012/07/therapyformemory-org-question-of-the-month/

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Alzheimer’s Prevention News: Breast-feeding Reduces Risk for Mom

Posted by on Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

A new study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s disease (August 2013) has found that mothers that breast-feed their babies have a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD). This was found to be strongest in those women who did not have a first-degree relative with AD, however breast-feeding also did reduce risk for mother’s who did have a family history.

There are several theories as to why breast-feeding may lead to this. Breast-feeding can actually improve a woman’s ability to manage sugar (or glucose), and may lower the sugar level in the brain. This can lead to improved ‘insulin sensitivity’, meaning the ability of the body to lower sugar levels in the brain (thereby reducing inflammation). For more information on the relationship between insulin resistance and Alzheimer’s disease, read the introductory chapters of The Alzheimer’s Diet book. Another possible explanation is that breast-feeding may lower inflammation through its effects on hormone changes (progesterone and estrogen).

It is important to note that breast-feeding also provides several other health advantages for the baby, such as reducing infections (ear and respiratory), diabetes, and asthma, perhaps due to modulation of antibodies and/or nutrients contained in breast milk.

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Is it Normal Memory Loss, or Alzheimer’s? Memory Boosting Foods for the Alzheimer’s Diet

Posted by on Friday, August 2nd, 2013

Many of us have wondered from time to time about whether small memory lapses are just part of the ‘normal’ aging process, or could be something more like the earliest signs of mild cognitive impairment (called MCI), which is the first apparent stage of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).  On August 1, 2013, researchers at Vanderbilt University published evidence that cognitive complaints may be predictive of an AD diagnosis in the years to come.  What is the difference between normal memory loss and early cognitive impairment in AD? Click here to watch an interview on the Today Show with Kathie Lee, Hoda and Dr. Isaacson, Co-Author of The Alzheimer’s Diet and Author of Alzheimer’s Treatment Alzheimer’s Prevention: A Patient & Family Guide, or to learn more, read below. Remember that AD actually starts in the brain 20-30 years before the first signs of memory loss, leaving ample time to try several low-risk interventions (watch this video for the latest info). If you or a loved one has any signs of memory loss, get educated, get informed, and see a qualified healthcare professional for an evaluation.

Just because one is getting older does not mean that he or she will automatically develop dementia! AD is not inevitable, but remember that there are some changes in cognition that occur “normally” with age. This condition is called age-associated cognitive impairment. Symptoms may include intermittent memory loss, word-finding difficulties, and slowing of the speed of thinking. When cognitive changes are isolated to difficulties with memory, this condition is sometimes referred to as age-related memory loss.

how the memory works for Alzheimer's prevention

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What you Need to Know About Alzheimer’s Prevention and Alcohol Consumption

Posted by on Sunday, July 21st, 2013

The Alzheimer’s Prevention diet book, written by Dr. Richard Isaacson, points out that  light consumption of alcohol, particularly red wine, may provide antioxidant properties that could reduce cognitive decline (involving memory and thinking skills). Some people think if  a small amount is good, more is better; it’s important to note that this is NOT the case with alcohol consumption and Alzheimer’s prevention.  

alcohol consumption and Alzheimer's prevention

Image Source: Alzheimersblog.org

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7 Toxic Food Additives to Avoid on the Alzheimer’s Diet

Posted by on Friday, July 12th, 2013

New research has questioned whether or not several food additives, like artificial sweeteners, may cause more harm then good. When it comes to reducing risk for Alzheimer’s and memory loss, the new book The Alzheimer’s Diet suggests several tips on how to make more Brain-Healthier food choices. Recent studies have shown that these sweeteners may actually increase weight gain and diabetes, but should these and other food additives should you avoid for maintaining the Alzheimer’s diet?

For some time the food industry has created more and more processed foods chock full of all sorts of chemicals, refined grains, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), and more.  The food supply has been transformed by the food industry in order to improve everything from the time span products can sit on the shelf to  the flavor and attractiveness. Foods have even been genetically modified so that they won’t attract insects (in order to save money on pesticides).

Food Additives NOT for Alzheimer's diet

Image Source: Nutritionforyu.tumblr.com

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Lifestyle Changes can Mean Life or Death When it Comes to Alzheimer’s Prevention

Posted by on Sunday, June 30th, 2013

Alzheimer’s disease is currently the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. The disease affects more than 5 million people, and that number continues to grow.  Not only is Alzheimer’s a debilitating disease, it is also fatal.  As discussed in the new Alzheimer’s diet book, what can you do today to avoid becoming part of the growing statistics and join the fight in Alzheimer’s prevention? 

Alzheimer's prevention suggestions

Image Source: Alzheimerstoday.files.wordpress.com

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To “B” or not to “B”- What you Should Know About Vitamin B and the Alzheimer’s Diet

Posted by on Friday, May 24th, 2013

A study published on May 20, 2013 in the top-tier journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that vitamins B6 and B12 combined with folic acid slowed shrinkage of gray matter in brain areas affected by Alzheimer’s disease. “These vitamins, in combination with a comprehensive management plan to improve and protect memory loss, is essential for AD management in 2013″ comments Dr. Richard Isaacson, Harvard-trained Neurologist and co-author of the best-selling new Alzheimer’s Diet book (with Columbia-trained nutrition expert Dr. Ochner), and author of the new book Alzheimer’s Treatment Alzheimer’s Prevention: A Patient & Family Guide.  This is the latest of a steady drumbeat of research that suggests diet, exercise and socializing remain patients’ best hope (click here to read the Bloomberg article to learn more).

With so much information bombarding us every day through TV commercials, the internet, apps, and more, it’s difficult to sort through it all when it comes to what’s best for our health. When it comes to vitamins, there is some exciting news; but how do vitamins work in Alzheimer’s prevention and treatment and which are recommended for the Alzheimers diet?

vitamins for Alzheimer's prevention

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