This blog is solutions-based – and yes, even for Alzheimer’s disease, there are solutions. Prevention of course, is the best strategy, but chances are if you’re looking for information on Alzheimer’s here, you’re further down the track than wanting preventative advice. It may not be too late for you to put a halt to, or even reverse some of your symptoms.

While it’s true that leading an active, sociable life and stimulating your brain brain helps, there is so much research showing that the cause of Alzheimer’s has real physiological roots, caused by:

a) Inflammation

b) Disturbance in sugar metabolism in the brain, called ‘Type 3 diabetes,’  meaning the brain is less able to use normal food as fuel for normal mental function.

c) Beta-amyloid plaques. Since the plaques are probably the result of the above, treating them directly may be less effective than focussing on getting nutrients into the brain.

Sadly, medications to date have little impact on the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. But what if some really simple, affordable ingredients, added to your diet, could delay or even stop the progression of Alzheimer’s symptoms?

Inflammation inside your body has been claimed to be responsible for many diseases like heart disease, cancers, type 2 diabetes and the decline in mental function that leads to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. So it may be that inflammation is the cause of you being less able to metabolise food properly for brain-fuel.

Research is revealing that three anti-inflammatory additions to your diet can make a real difference:

1. Two cups of green tea per day. You’re going to have a cuppa anyway, so why not add two more cups and make them green? Some research even says that green tea removes the amyloid plaques.

2. Ginger – you may need to take a ginger supplement to get 500mgs per day, but in the lab, after a couple of months of supplements, the mental function of subjects improved. You can make ginger tea at home, by grating a teaspoon or so of fresh ginger into a cup and fill with hot water. Add a tiny amount of honey to taste.

3. Curcumin – is the main ingredient in the yellow powdered herb Turmeric, commonly used in Indian curries. Cooking a curry is definitely a good idea, because it includes Turmeric, Ginger and other beneficial spices in the recipe, but probably in amounts less than 500mgs per day needed to have a therapeutic effect. Turmeric and Curcumin supplements are easy to buy from health stores and pharmacies.

DIET

No treatment for any illness is complete without some dietary adjustments. Taking out foods from your daily diet is much harder to do than adding things, but some serious dietary change is essential to get that anti-inflammatory effect happening in your brain cells.

Things to avoid: Sugar, white foods and vegetable oils!

Sugar is an inflammatory substance, along with white flour (so most cakes and biscuits), and of course white rice, and white bread.

Buy wholegrain bread, rice, flour and ditch the sweets. Eat fresh fruit – in particular, berries. Fruit is the ultimate fast-food! No preparation whatsoever and your brain will love it. Eating five serves of vegetables per day (not potatoes) is something many people struggle to do, but will help your nutrition.

Easy vegetables to prepare are baby spinach, silver beet, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, peas and raw tomatoes.

Oils: Olive oil is best, use butter, (not margarine) and keep the amounts minimal.

Good news! Some tinned food is acceptable and highly nutritious: baked beans, beetroot, cannelini beans, and five-bean salad.

One more thing…Coconut Oil. 

If your brain can’t properly access nutrition from your food, then it needs another type of fuel. Components in coconut oil act as an alternative fuel for your brain and many dementia and Alzheimer’s sufferers have benefitted from adding coconut oil to their diet. It’s a long story, but there is substantial research showing how and why the brain benefits from coconut oil. There’s a story about Alzheimer’s sufferer Steve Newport in my book Good News for People with Bad News, where his advanced mental decline was dramatically improved after consuming coconut oil. After seeing the improvement in Steve, his paediatrician wife, Doctor Mary Newport campaigned long and hard to raise awareness of the importance of coconut oil and has brought the research to many people’s attention. Her book, Alzheimer’s What If There Was a Cure? is now in it’s second edition, which describes the research in detail.

Coconut oil is available in most supermarkets. The ideal dose is around four tablespoons per day, which is a lot to take all at once. Best to start with 1/2 tablespoon, added to food like porridge, and gradually increase the amount as tolerated. Coconut oil capsules are available, but the number of capsules needed to get enough is many! Other ways to get coconut oil in your diet is to use it in cooking, in place of your usual cooking oil. Coconut cream is available in tins and great in those curries.

Honestly, you can probably make a bigger difference to your own or your loved one’s mental health by following these nutritive and medicinal guidelines, knowing that there is so much research to give hope to people affected by declining cognitive function.

Until next time,

Nyema