By RJ Rivera−
What is Dementia?
The human brain is capable of a lot of complex functions. From making sure the heart beats to converting vital chemicals in our body. Science has always been baffled by the power of the human brain and to this date, scientists have yet to come up with a concrete explanation as to how the brain works. But as powerful as the human brain is, it is not immune to disease and one of the common illnesses that afflict the brain is dementia.
Dementia is a condition which normally occurs to people beyond 60 years of age. The World Health Organization estimates the number of people living with dementia worldwide at 47.5 million and is expected to rise up to 75.6 million by 2030. They also project the number of dementia cases to triple by 2050. Research has shown that people who live in countries with advanced health care have lower cases of dementia than those who reside in low and middle income countries.
Dementia itself is not the disease but the overall term used to describe the conditions of which involve a decline in memory or other cognitive skills serious enough to dampen day-to-day activities. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease.
The main cause of dementia is mostly attributed to aging. Technically speaking, dementia is caused by a decline in brain cells due to damage. Damaged brain cells lose their ability to efficiently communicate with each other which results in lack of neural connectivity. This lack of neural connectivity would then lead to a decrease in overall mental performance. This affects a person’s thinking and communication skills which affect their overall behavior.
Foods to Fight Dementia
There are plenty of ways to slow down and perhaps even prevent dementia and one of them is a sustainable diet that specifically aims to promote brain health. We won’t be tackling instant cures or pills much like many articles about weight loss and their promotion of women’s weight loss tablets. We’ll be discussing natural foods that can help restore the brain’s functions naturally.
In this regard, we compiled a list of 7 powerful foods that have shown promising results when it comes to fighting dementia.
Folate deficiency is often associated with dementia and leafy vegetables are known to have natural sources of folate. These vegetables are the likes of spinach, kale, and mustard greens. Having a regular diet of leafy vegetables that has high amounts of folate may improve cognitive functions as well as a person’s social function.
Besides a good dose of folate, beans and legumes contain vitamin B which have been shown to slow brain atrophy by as much as 40%. One of these B vitamins is Choline that has the ability to improve acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter important to maintain brain function.
Cherry is known to contain anthocyanin that has been revealed to prevent memory impairment especially for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s.
Olive oil has been known to have plenty of benefits and among them are the benefits for the heart. New research suggests that olive oil may also be able to protect the brain from further damage caused by dementia thru a substance called oleocanthal. Oleocanthal helps eliminate Beta-amyloid, the toxic protein that forms gummy plaques in Alzheimer’s patients.
Broccoli is already known as a classic superfood with a potential to prevent major diseases such as a multitude of cancers. It has also shown potential in keeping the brain sharp even with age. This property is due to sulforaphane, a substance naturally found in broccoli that has been shown to activate the body’s natural defenses that combat neurodegeneration.
Turmeric is a popular spice in India which is used as a main ingredient in curry powder. Studies have shown that consumption of turmeric can lead to the slowing down of neurodegredation, decrease in brain inflammation, and reduction of Beta-amyloid plaques which all contribute to dementia.
Coffee is already known to have a lot of health benefits, but a little known fact about coffee is its ability to reduce the risk of dementia by as much as 65%. This has been attributed to the caffeine content in coffee which acts as an antioxidant and due to increased insulin sensitivity.
The human brain is a fragile organ which becomes prone to a variety of diseases such as dementia. As it is, dementia is a naturally occurring illness associated best with aging and brain atrophy. There are plenty of ways to fight or at least delay dementia and one of them is thru healthy food selections. Research has brought light into how common food items have the potential to not just delay but also prevent dementia.
Perhaps dementia isn’t as untreatable as we once thought and we may have a cure for it as science and medical research progresses.
Food Scientist. Fitness and Health Aficionado. Investor. Writer -Robert James likes to tell people how to grow their money and how to naturally lose body fat. He owns a small website catered to his passion to write about health and fitness. His main weapon against weakness is the kettlebell.