Spending time in nature just might have saved my life. My father, Richard North, died in a Navy jet test flight crash when I was six years old. Fifteen months after his death, my mother, Helen Read
Medical science is making meaningful strides in terms of reducing heart disease and some forms of cancer. But why are we desperately losing the battle when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease?
The statistics take your breath away. We’ve already got 5.4 million Alzheimer’s patients right here in the U.S., and that number is poised to double by 2030. And the cost for caring for these folks is estimated to be around $200 billion each year, almost triple what's spent in treating cancer patients.
Recently, news reports again revealed another multi-million dollar failure in an attempt to develop a meaningful treatment for this disease. So as of now, there remains no “magic pill” for this malady.
But the most heart-wrenching factor in this discussion is the simple, well-supported fact that Alzheimer’s disease is preventable. The disease that not only robs individuals of their ability to care for themselves, but emotionally cripples their families as well, is a situation that doesn’t need to happen.
Lifestyle factors are profoundly influential in determining risk for Alzheimer’s, and yet, perhaps because they cannot be monetized, no one is bringing this information to public awareness.
For example, researchers at the prestigious Mayo Clinic recently published a report showing that a lower carb, higher fat diet is associated with a 42% risk reduction for dementia, the most common form being Alzheimer’s.
More recently, the New England Journal of Medicine showed us that even small elevations of blood sugar translate into increased risk for becoming demented. And blood sugar relates to dietary choices. Higher carbs means higher risk for dementia.
Alzheimer’s can, and more importantly should be prevented, even if it means, and perhaps especially if it means that preventing this disease will translate to a reduction in sales of pharmaceuticals.
So what can you do, today, to meaningfully reduce your risk for Alzheimer's disease, a disease for which the current medical armamentarium offers no treatment solution?
1. Adopt a dramatically lower carbohydrate diet. That means counting carbs and keeping them below 60-80 grams daily.
2. Add more fat. Fat is a super fuel for the brain, protecting and nourishing delicate brain cells. Good choices include extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, grass-fed beef, and wild caught fish.
3. Begin an aerobic exercise program targeting at least 20 minutes of sustained aerobics daily.
4. Take a DHA supplement. DHA, a specific omega-3, targets the genes that actually allow you to grow new brain cells specifically in the brain's memory center.
To learn more about how dietary choices affect your neurological health, check out Dr. Perlmutter's book Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar—Your Brain's Silent Killers.
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