A recent article about Alzheimer’s in a major health publication stated that “Age is the biggest risk factor for the disease.” The author was referring to the fact that the prevalence of Alzheimer’s doubles every five years in people over 65.
The same is true for most chronic diseases (including macular degeneration, cancer, heart disease and others). Their prevalence increases as we grow older. But this is merely a correlation. Age itself is not the “cause” of these diseases.
Degenerative diseases have very little to do with chronological aging. Instead, they are the long-term ramification of unhealthy choices. It is the end result of chronic stress, poor nutrition and toxic overload that occurs over a long period of time.
But here’s the good news: There is a lot you can do right now to protect health (and your memory) tomorrow. And the first step to protecting your memory into your golden years is to dramatically reduce the amount of sugar you consume.
Type 3 Diabetes: The Blood Sugar and Alzheimer’s Link
Did you know that insulin isn’t just produced in the pancreas… but also in the brain?
It’s true. Just as excess dietary sugar causes the cells of the pancreas to wear out over time, the same thing happens to brain cells. Insulin receptors in the brain also begin to malfunction. Ultimately, this can lead to those embarrassing “senior moments”… and potentially Alzheimer’s.
In fact, researchers from Brown Medical School are now calling Alzheimer’s “Type 3 Diabetes” and link the disease to impaired blood sugar metabolism. When these researchers looked at the brain tissue of 45 Alzheimer’s patients, they found abnormal protein deposits that were similar to those found in the pancreases of diabetic patients.
It’s no wonder that people with diabetes have a 65% increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s!
Balance Your Blood Sugar, Protect Your Brain
As you may have read in previous Healing Gourmet articles, eating a low-sugar, low-glycemic diet is the best way to lose weight, reduce cravings, boost mood, reduce inflammation and balance hormones.
It also happens to be one of the best ways to reduce the risk of chronic disease – including Alzheimer’s. Eating less sugar equates to better brain health by reducing inflammation.
Low glycemic foods – like vegetables, leafy greens, wild seafood, grass-fed meats and nuts – enter the bloodstream at a slower rate than higher glycemic foods – like grains, starches and sweets.
Delaying the entry of carbohydrates into the bloodstream reduces the production of insulin, which in turn, reduces the generation of an inflammatory compound called arachidonic acid.
But you don’t have to know all the chemistry behind the glycemic index and how inflammation works in the body to get the brain-protecting benefits of a low glycemic diet.
Simply base your meals around leafy greens, bright colored non-starchy vegetables, grass-fed meats, pastured poultry and wild fish to keep your body and brain in tip top shape – at any age!