Diet and Lifestyle To Delay Brain Aging
by John Bauer – March 20, 2016
The real life horror show
Having witnessed elderly dementia in my own family, I can tell you the possibility of leading a long healthy physical life while deteriorating mentally to non-functionality is a deeply disturbing thought. Most folks given the choice would choose keeping their mind and dealing with poor physical health.
Mainstream medicine has been struggling mightily to come up with pharmacological treatments to “cure” alzheimers or dementia after it has set in, with limited success so far. About the best the can do currently is stop or slow the progression further.
As is the case with many of our diseases of aging, little work is put in to prevention. However, that makes some sense also because the truth of the matter is that for reasons which I cannot personally grasp, people in general are not interested in following a healthy lifestyle for the most part. For those of us that are, I read some very heartening news today.
Preserving brain function through diet
William Faloon, founder of lifeextension.com, has published an article titled “How to Delay Brain Aging by 11 Years” which I am linking to at the bottom of this article. In the article he discusses a study done at Rush University on the effect of diet on Alzheimer’s risk. The results were very encouraging, with risk reductions of the development of Alzheimer’s ranging from 30% to 50% after adjusting for confounding factors.
The best scoring diet studied was a diet they dubbed the MIND diet. It is based on increasing consumption of ten food groups which maximize brain healthy nutrients and limiting consumption of five groups thought to be unhealthy. Here is an excerpt from the article showing these food groups:
The MIND diet consists of 15 dietary components shown to powerfully impact neurological function for the good or bad.
The ten brain-healthy food groups are:
- Green leafy vegetables
- Other vegetables
- Whole grains
- Olive oil
- Wine (moderate drinking)
Consuming lots of the 10 healthy food groups above conferred significant protection against Alzheimer’s and mild cognitive impairment.6
The five dangerous food groups are:
Butter and stick margarine
Pastries and sweets
Do you notice anything about this diet construction? It is basically a whole foods diet high in vegetables and berries and relatively low in starchy carbohydrates, sugar, and processed food, very much along the lines of what I discuss in My Diet Philosophy and in numerous other posts on this blog.
Reversing the memory loss of Alzheimers disease
Another study discussed in the linked article was done by a collaboration between UCLA and the Buck Institute. This study looked at potential protocols to reverse memory loss which had already progressed due to Alzheimer’s.
This was a small study of only ten patients, so one has to take into consideration the possibility it cannot be reproduced over large populations. However, it is very encouraging that 9 out of the 10 subjects were able to achieve higher memory scores after the intervention, and the one who did not was not able to comply with his recommended protocol.
Here are some of the protocols used on these patients taken from the article:
Eliminating all simple carbohydrates, gluten, and processed food from the diet, and eating more vegetables, fruits, and non-farmed fish
Meditating twice a day and beginning yoga to reduce stress
Sleeping seven to eight hours per night, up from four to five
Taking melatonin, methylcobalamin, vitamin D3, fish oil, and coenzyme Q10 each day
Optimizing oral hygiene by using an electric flosser and electric toothbrush
Reinstating hormone replacement therapy, which had previously been discontinued
Fasting a minimum of 12 hours between dinner and breakfast, and a minimum of three hours between dinner and bedtime
Exercising a minimum of 30 minutes, four to six days per week
Once again this looks a lot like some of the things I recommend on my Lifestyle page and which I have written numerous blogs about as well. It sure looks to me like the Alternative Health community I follow and espouse may be on to something good!
Now we have one more reason to follow a healthy lifestyle of a whole foods diet, exercise and other beneficial behaviors. One thing not discussed is lifelong learning, which I believe plays a crucial part in maintaining mental health as well.
Please read and enjoy the article as it discusses this in much greater detail.