Global Resilience Solutions > 2016 > February

Brain Resilience: 5 Steps to Healthy Gray-Matter and Avoiding Alzheimer’s

 

We all talk about slowing down as we get older, but Alzheimer’s and other brain-degenerative conditions don’t have to be part of the package. Far from being part of the natural ageing process, Alzheimer’s, as with every other dementia and memory loss is an acquired condition with definite contributing causes. Don’t believe it? Then check out this article after reading this blog post. Here are some simple approaches you can take to maintain the health of your brain.

 

Free Radicals

 

No, we’re not talking about anarchists. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that are produced naturally in the metabolic process and that the body uses as part of the immune system. Your body has mechanisms to neutralize excess free radicals, but when too many of the molecules build up, that system is overwhelmed. Because of their reactive quality, free radicals tend to destroy cells, including those in the brain and nervous system.

 

Sources of excess free radicals in the modern world include:

– Radiation from x-rays and microwaves;

– Toxic metals such as aluminum and cadmium in food preservatives, cosmetics, antiperspirants, aluminum cookware, and even public water supplies and flu vaccines; autopsies on Alzheimer’s patients often reveal abnormally high levels of aluminum;

– Chlorine and fluoride in drinking water, toothpaste etc.;

– Cigarette smoke;

– Hydrogenated oils, such as shortening, deep-fryer oil and non-dairy creamers; these fat molecules have been modified through long-term exposure to heat or chemical process. They act like a silver bullet going right to your brain and nervous system, where they oxidize much more quickly than ordinary fat molecules, releasing free radicals at a rate that kills or damages the host cell.

 

What can you do besides limiting your exposure? Antioxidants are nature’s counterbalance to free radicals. Vitamins C and E, Beta Carotine, D3 and B complex, as well as certain amino acids either act as antioxidants or stimulate antioxidant production. The herbs ginko and ginseng and the spice turmeric likewise have antioxidant effects, and certain fruits, such as wild blueberries, are high in antioxidant content. Increasing your vegetable intake also helps.

 

 

The 3-6 Balance

 

Your body needs a certain amount of dietary fat. Unfortunately, modern diets tend to be weighted toward Omega 6 fatty acids rather than Omega 3, while our bodies are designed for the opposite. This is of particular concern, because there is evidence that one particular kind of Omega 6 molecule is associated with memory loss and neural degeneration. Arachidonic acid overstimulates the brain’s nerve cells. We get Omega 6 from grain-fed factory-farm animal products, but especially from vegetable oil (corn, sunflower, canola and soybean), which is the main source of this imbalance in our diet. These are present in most processed foods.

 

Conversely, Omega 3 is quite important for brain health. It can help to break down the plaques associated with Alzheimer’s and reduce brain inflammation. Dietary sources can be supplemented by krill oil or fish oil capsules, but beware of eating too much fish, as fish in our food chain is often contaminated with mercury.

 

Exercise

 

Exercise plays a major role in regenerating the brain and nervous system. Less active people are much more vulnerable to Alzheimer’s. By exercising three to four times a week, you can promote cell and tissue repair mechanisms in your body, as well as increasing production of compounds that protect the nervous system. It increases the flow of blood in your brain and improves the health of your cardiovascular system.

 

Sleep

 

Getting a good night’s sleep is critical to memory, as you know if you’ve ever been a university student. There is also evidence that a healthy circadian rhythm is critical to the long-term health of your brain. Working nights over a long period does serious damage to the health of your brain, since it is that regular biochemical cycle that keeps your neural pathways in good working order.

 

 

The Diabetes Connection

 

Diabetes and insulin-resistance have a very high correlation with Alzheimer’s. Diabetics have up to a 65% higher chance of developing the disease. As such, the same approaches you’d take to avoid diabetes, such as reducing your sugar and grain intake, are also helpful in promoting brain health. Going to a diet richer in proteins is one of the first steps recommended to Alzheimer’s patients by natural health experts.

 

 

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger


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