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List Of 10 Foods Considered Helpful To Fight Alzheimer’s Disease
Graphic © herbshealthhappiness.com. Image sources: CC3 – see foot of page
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most common health conditions to hit members of the older population. While Alzheimer’s disease can also affect younger people, 5.2 million of those affected are aged 65 and older (out of the 5.4 million estimated cases of Alzheimer’s disease in the USA). Because of the widely perpetuated idea that forgetfulness and poor memory is “normal” for older adults, a lot of people with Alzheimer’s disease still go about their lives undiagnosed. 
Differentiating Dementia From Alzheimer’s Disease
Dementia is not a disease but a collective of symptoms attributed to the normal aging process of the brain – a syndrome but not a disease. As the brain undergoes natural wear and tear over the years, its function becomes affected and eventually flawed. This causes problems with memory, mental agility, language, understanding, and judgment – but not as severe as the neurological decline seen in Alzheimer’s disease. 
On the other hand, Alzheimer’s disease is widely regarded as an irreversible and progressive condition that affects the brain and causes debilitating problems in day-to-day living. This is a slow-moving disease, often disregarded as dementia, with the affected person eventually losing the ability to perform basic skills of daily living like feeding one’s self and practice self-care activities. They eventually become fully dependent on others for care. 
Risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s disease include advanced age, familial history of the disease (a.k.a. genetics), hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, traumatic head injury, depression, and sleep disorders. However, the underlying cause of Alzheimer’s disease is still unknown. 
10 Foods To Fight Alzheimer’s Disease
#1 – Olive Oil
One of the most recent studies linking olive oil intake and Alzheimer’s disease was published in 2015 by Rigacci. According to a review of recent literature, Rigacci concluded that the phenol content of olive oil was a promising substance to include in a person’s diet to fight Alzheimer’s disease. The review linked to other studies on the “Mediterranean diet” that uses olive oil as a main source of fat, leading to a reduced risk for heart disease, cancer, and cognitive decline caused by advancing age. 
#2 – Legumes
Legumes are an excellent source of micronutrients without adding saturated and trans fat to the daily diet. While there are no significant studies that directly correlate legume intake with a decreased risk for Alzheimer’s disease, Barnard, et. al. (2014) conclude that the nutrient content of legumes do decrease risk for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases — which are related to cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. 
#3 – Cheese
You might find cheese a strange item to include in this list but this is one of the few foods that has been directly linked to a preventative health strategy for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Ano, et. al. concluded in a 2015 study that the intake of fermented dairy products like cheese exhibited a protective effect against cognitive decline due to significant anti-inflammatory and microglial phagocytic activity – two biological processes that help promote neural health. 
#4 – Walnuts
Muthaiyah, et. al. in 2014 found that dietary intake of walnuts was able to improve memory and learning skills in tests subjects affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Walnuts were included in the diet for 10 months, with test subjects exhibiting improved memory, learning ability, motor development, and reduced anxiety – the opposite of which are characteristic symptoms seen in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The study concluded that these brain-shaped nuts could possibly have beneficial effects in delaying the onset or progression of Alzheimer’s disease. 
#5 – Flaxseeds
Flaxseeds are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, a nutrient that has been correlated with early Alzheimer’s disease prevention. Thomas, et. al.’s study published in 2015 focused on the role of omega-3s in prevention neurodegenerative disease and their results were very promising for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Supplementation of omega-3s in the diet was able to either prevent or delay the onset of various forms of cognitive decline, improving the quality of life in adults. 
#6 – Salmon
The intake of fish, particularly salmon, has been linked to a reduced rate of cognitive decline by improving brain structure and function. Raji, et. al. in 2011 found that the consumption of broiled or baked fish was linked to a reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease in 260 individuals. While Dr. Raji didn’t specify which kinds of fish in particular, salmon is a frontrunner because of its high omega-3 fatty acid content, which has also been strongly linked to Alzheimer’s risk reduction. 
#7 – Broccoli
The vegetable that puts fear into the hearts of children has actually been found to exhibit strong neuroprotective effects against Alzheimer’s disease, promoting brain health on a cellular level. Masci, et. al.’s study in 2015 introduced broccoli juice to the diet and found that the phenols in broccoli juice were able to reduce cytotoxicity and cell death in brain tissue, promoting brain health and function which lead to a decreased risk for Alzheimer’s disease. 
#8 – Grapefruit
Grapefruits have high phenolic content that makes them excellent antioxidants. A study on a variety of fruit juices, grapefruits included, found that the phenols were able to scavenge free radicals and prevent the activation of acetylcholinesterase in the brain. This means that grapefruit juice is a great dietary addition to help prevent and manage Alzheimer’s disease. 
#9 – Whole Grains
The consumption of whole grains has been linked to significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities that could fight a variety of chronic inflammatory diseases, Alzheimer’s disease included. A composite of whole grains was used in the study – oat, barley, rice, wheat, and rye – all of which displayed significant abilities to fight Alzheimer’s diseases (and chronic diseases like cardiac disease and diabetes). 
#10 – Strawberries
Berry fruits top the list for “antioxidant foods”, able to fight inflammation caused by free radicals circulating in the bloodstream. According to Shukitt-Hale, Lau, & Joseph (2008), berry fruits, especially strawberries, were able to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in brain tissue, promoting neuronal communication and improving overall brain function. This promotes brain health, specifically in the aging brain, which was the focus the 2008 study. 
 Alzheimer’s Association. 2016 Azheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures. https://alz.org/facts/
 National Health Services. About dementia. https://nhs.uk/conditions/dementia-guide/pages/about-dementia.aspx
 National Institute on Aging. Alzheimer’s Disease Fact Sheet. https://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/alzheimers-disease-fact-sheet
 Rigacci, S. (2015). Olive Oil Phenols as Promising Multi-targeting Agents Against Alzheimer’s Disease. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26092624
 Barnard, N., et. al. (2014). Dietary and lifestyle guidelines for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. https://neurobiologyofaging.org/article/S0197-4580(14)00348-0/fulltext
 Ano, Y., et. al. (2015). Preventive Effects of a Fermented Dairy Product against Alzheimer’s Disease and Identification of a Novel Oleamide with Enhanced Microglial Phagocytosis and Anti-Inflammatory Activity. https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4356537/
 Muthaiyah, B., et. al. (2014). Dietary supplementation of walnuts improves memory deficits and learning skills in transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25024344
 Thomas, J., et. al. (2015). Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Early Prevention of Inflammatory Neurodegenerative Disease: A Focus on Alzheimer’s Disease. https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4537710/
 Raji, et. al. (2011). Regular Fish Consumption Is Associated with Larger Gray Matter Volumes and Reduced Risk for Cognitive Decline in the Cardiovascular Health Study. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/266107796_Regular_Fish_Consumption_Is_Associated_with_Larger_Gray…/
 Masci, A., et. al. (2015). Neuroprotective Effect of Brassica oleracea Sprouts Crude Juice in a Cellular Model of Alzheimer’s Disease. https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4477226/
 Ademosun, O. & Oboh, G. (2012). Inhibition of acetylcholinesterase activity and Fe2+-induced lipid peroxidation in rat brain in vitro by some citrus fruit juices. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22400910
 Lee, Y., et. al. (2015). Bioactives in Commonly Consumed Cereal Grains: Implications for Oxidative Stress and Inflammation. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26381136
 Shukitt-Hale, B., Lau, F., & Joseph, J. (2008). Berry fruit supplementation and the aging brain. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18211020
Infographic Image Sources:
Olive Oil – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Italian_olive_oil_2007.jpg
Legumes – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Various_legumes.jpg
Whole grains – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Various_grains.jpg
Cheese – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Emmentaler.jpg
Walnuts – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:3_walnuts.jpg
Flaxseed – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Brown_Flax_Seeds.jpg
Salmon – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Henneguya_salminicola_in_flesh_of_coho_salmon,_BC,_Canada.JPG
Broccoli – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Broccoli_and_cross_section_edit.jpg
Grapefruit – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Citrus_paradisi_(Grapefruit,_pink)_white_bg.jpg
Strawberries – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:PerfectStrawberry.jpg
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