It’s estimated that as many as 5.1 million Americans may have Alzheimer’s disease. An Alzheimer’s diagnoses can be devastating to a patient, their friends and their family members. While there is no cure for the disease, there are several foods that can significantly increase your Alzheimer’s risk. By limiting these foods in your diet, you may be able to lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
Here are three foods that significant increase your Alzheimer’s risk:
1. Red Meat
Red meat is rich in iron, which your body needs to avoid anemia, chronic fatigue and weak muscles. However, too much iron can end up causing damage from too many free radicals in the body. When iron builds up in the brain, it fills as area known as “gray matter.” This is a part of the brain that shows one of the first signs of degeneration as we age. Too much iron in this area can speed up the aging process. It might not be necessary to cut out all red meat from your diet, but limiting your intake and choosing the best quality, grass-fed beef can help.
2. Refined Carbohydrates And Sugars
In a 2012 study, researchers found that people 70 years old or older who ate a diet heavy in carbohydrates were nearly four times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those who ate a healthier diet. Carbohydrates are often loaded with sugar. They raise glucose and insulin levels in the body, causing blood sugar to spike. A long-term diet heavy in carbohydrates can end up leading to insulin resistance over time. If your body starts to ignore insulin, your pancreas will compensate by producing even more. High insulin levels can end up damaging blood vessels in the brain, causing memory issues. In Alzheimer’s patients, parts of the brain become resistant to insulin.
3. High-AGE Foods
AGE stands for advanced glycation end products – chemicals that are found naturally in our bodies and in some foods. AGEs have been linked to diabetes and poor cardiovascular health. Scientists are now realizing they might also play a role in brain decline. In a 2014 study, researchers examined the role of AGE in mice. They found that mice who were eating the least amount of AGEs experienced improved cognitive function. A similar study was conducted on human participants. When researchers studied the diets of 90 healthy people age 60 or older, they found that those who ate high-AGE diets showed decline over the course of the nine-month study. High-AGE foods include red meat, cheese, cream, butter and processed grains.
Foods That Help Lower Alzheimer’s Risk
Research has shown that a Mediterranean diet may help reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Emphasize fresh fruits and vegetables, wild-caught seafood, poultry, nuts and olive oil in your diet. The Mediterranean diet is full of brain foods like healthy fats to keep your brain sharp. The omega-3 fatty acids in these foods play an important role in brain health by slowing down the aging process.
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Alzheimer’s Foundation Of America
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