Why Foods with Anti-Inflammatory Effects are Vital to Your Alzheimer’s Prevention
Posted by Sherry C. on Wednesday, February 13th, 2013
Alzheimer’s disease is considered a degenerative disease of the brain, just like the aging process itself; that means that the brain will progressively deteriorate over a period of time in a person who has the disease – that’s the bad news. The good news is that recent research is finding scientific proof that the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease can be slowed down or perhaps even prevented all together with an anti- inflammatory diet. But what is an anti-inflammatory diet and which foods are recommended to promote it?
Recent scientific research has shown that according to lab studies, inflammation in the brain has a major role in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease based on 2 factors; tissue studies of the brain of those with Alzheimer’s showed peripheral inflammation, and the fact that specific anti-inflammatory drugs improve the disease.
So if it is a known fact that Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease, and that inflammation promotes the progression, it just makes sense that eating foods that decrease inflammation would be a top priority in the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.
So what are the top foods that decrease inflammation in the brain? At the top of the list of course, is cold water fish such as salmon. Other foods that have healthy Omega 3 fatty acids also promote an anti-inflammatory response in the body. These fatty acids are called “essential” because the body cannot produce them and they must come from a food source.
Turmeric, ginger, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, cold pressed olive oil, avocados, walnuts, almonds, pecans, and Brazil nuts are also great anti-inflammatory food sources, as well as grape seed oil and walnut oil. It’s important to note that some of these healthy oils are broken down with high heat resulting in denaturing of the healthy fatty acids, such as with olive oil; thus olive oil is best eaten raw. One way to get plenty of healthy fatty acids from raw olive oil is to put it in your salad dressing. Another great idea is to add a small amount of fresh grated parmesan cheese and/or fresh ground black pepper and use the olive oil mixture as a dip for fresh whole grain bread. Olive oil can also be used as a substitute for any food you normally use butter on such as legumes, healthy whole grain bread, or vegetables.
Other great foods on the anti-inflammatory diet recommended for cancer and Alzheimer’s prevention include fresh fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants (which promotes an anti-inflammatory response in the body) and phytochemicals. Select the brightest colored fruit and vegetables for maximum health promotion, such as blueberries, cantelope, strawberries, broccoli, spinach, carrots, squash, and kale. You should strive to eat 5 or more servings every day of these vitamin and mineral packed foods for optimal anti-inflammatory effects.
Foods To Avoid on an Anti-Inflammatory Alzheimer’s Prevention Diet
Foods high in saturated fats such as fatty beef and processed foods like doughnuts, pastries, chips and anything with refined white sugar like white bread, all increase inflammation in the body. Not only are these foods bad for Alzheimer’s prevention, they are also responsible for speeding up the aging process in general. In short, foods that cause inflammation in the body can actually make our skin look old. Other foods to avoid include; bacon and sausage and other high trans-fat or saturated fatty foods and processed meats.
Tips for an Anti-inflammatory Diet
Replace red meat with fresh cold water fish such as wild caught salmon or fresh tuna. Wild caught canned tuna packed in water is okay but avoid canned tuna packed in oil. Try to eat healthy fish at least 3 times per week (more is better).
Start working toward decreasing your overall sugar intake for optimal anti-inflammatory results in an Alzheimer’s nutrition diet. Consider substituting sugar with stevia, a natural sweetener that comes from a plant source. Stevia can be used in desserts on your cereal, in low sugar yogurt, and in protein shakes as well as in beverages like coffee and green tea and in baking.
Be aware that there are many hidden sources of sugar, such as in white bread, white macaroni and white rice, as well as in most commercial beverages. Start reading labels to find out the “carbohydrate” level in foods and you will be surprised at how many of them contain a lot of carbs.
- Substitute water and green tea for sugary soda and sweetened drinks.
- Select more fresh vegetables, fruits and whole foods versus processed package foods.
- Forego the high sugar cereal in exchange for whole grains such as oatmeal and brown rice as well as quinoa.
- Instead of chips, cookies and candy, try snacking on nuts. Sunflower seeds in the shell are also a great choice as well as high fiber popcorn, if you crave salty foods, but be sure to check out the type of oil that is used. Many prepackaged microwave popcorn brands have trans-fats or are loaded with butter. Making homemade popcorn is preferable because you can select a healthy type of oil.
- Exchange butter and margarine for Earth Balance vegan spread or cold pressed olive oil.
- Get rid of the lard in your kitchen and cook with oils that have healthy omega 3s such as olive oil and walnut or grape seed oil.
- Eat lots of salads with homemade dressing made with olive oil.
Keeping your weight at a healthy level is also important in fighting inflammation in the body, integrating and maintaining a healthy diet daily is important.
Great Tasting Recipe With Olive Oil and Turmeric to Fight Inflammation
Makes 6 Servings
2 cans garbanzo beans, drained or substitute dry garbanzo beans
4 tablespoons first cold pressed olive oil, divided
2 cups or more of spinach
1 cups of Kale-optional
1/2 cup diced tomotoes
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon curry powder or curry paste
1 teaspoon pressed garlic
1 teaspoon ground fresh turmeric (can substitute with powdered)
1 small onion, finely chopped
red pepper flakes to taste (if you like spicy food)
Heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil on medium low heat in a cast iron skillet, and brown the diced onion until tender, then add tomatoes and fresh pressed garlic. Add grated fresh ginger. Remove from heat, cool, and mix in garbanzo beans and half of the fresh cilantro leaves. Set aside. Add remaining ingredients and season with course sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Garnish with the remaining cilantro leaves and add 2 tablespoons of remaining olive oil substituting it for butter. Stir and serve.
If you decide to use dried garbanzo beans, soak them overnight and cook them in a crock pot or in boiling water until the beans are soft but not mushy.
It’s not just important to have a list of foods that promote Alzheimer’s prevention, you must also learn about foods to avoid that can sabotage your efforts of following a healthy diet for Alzheimer’s nutrition. The more you learn about prevention when it comes to this devastating disease, the more armed you will be in preventing or slowing down its progress. Why not get started today?
For more easy to follow nutrition advice check out The Alzheimer’s Diet: A Step-by-Step Nutritional Approach to Memory Loss Prevention and Treatment, or visit theadplan.com to learn more about Neurologist, Dr. Richard Isaacson's 9 week diet plan and his cutting edge approach in the fight against AD in Alzheimer's Treatment | Alzheimer's Prevention: A Patient and Family Guide 2012 Edition. Also, sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates in AD treatment and prevention news.