Alzheimer's Disease and Diet
I'm putting this here in case anyone wants to argue about it, and because I was asked about it in the context of another Food Fight debate/ not sure where it best fits on the forums (since it was wildly off-topic by that point, lol!)...
Ok, so, NOT news: whole-food plant-based diets reduce risk for 'Western diseases of affluence' like coronary artery disease, stroke, diabetes, and the most common cancers in SAD-eating countries (breast, colon, liver, & prostate)... what is less commonly discussed is the similar risk patterns for Alzheimer's disease and other forms of age-related dementia, which have HUGE ties to diet. Like breast cancer and heart disease and diabetes, rates of Alzheimer's diagnosis predictably increase when other countries adopt an American-style (animal-centered/ highly processed) diet. Good for the heart = good for the brain; diet and exercise programs that reduce your risk for diabetes and cardiovascular dysfunction automatically reduce your risk for Alzheimer's, because of the (pretty well-established) links between sugar metabolism/ cardiovascular function and the ability of the brain to do its job properly. Obviously there's no 'one thing' that causes or prevents Alzheimer's; but diet is a major player, just like it is for the other top American diseases.
If anyone would like to debate this, I'm open, but... it seems kinda silly. The link is clearly there, based on best available data (see below).
More interesting to me is the Mediterranean diet vs vegan-plus-heavy-DHA/ B12 question... If there's enough evidence that the former is better than the latter-- I haven't seen it, if so, but share if you know more about this!... Undoubtedly both Mediterranean (basically whole-food plant-food 80%+, small amounts of olive & nut oils, and small amounts of fish & shellfish) and vegan diets are better than the SAD on all counts, for people with or without dementia... But as someone with a parent showing early signs of dementia, I'm watching this research closely. Right now she eats mostly vegan/ vegetarian, with some seafood... if that's how the research shakes out as the best plan for people with Alzheimer's-- and it may not, it may remain tied with "vegan+strongDHA/B12supplementation"-- but just hypothetically: would it change the way you approach food, in your 60's or 70's? or talk to aging family members about nutrition?
I'd be interested to hear others' thoughts on this.
Starter-reading, more to follow as time allows:
Feel free to add resources, as I'm sure there's tons more out there to consider and reflect upon... I find this interesting, and am always surprised to realize that most people don't view Alzheimer's as a diet-related disease.
There's some interesting research regarding tumeric and Alz. disease. I don't have sources, but I've heard more than one that India has one of the lowest rates of Alz. in the world and they've researched it down to the anti-inflammatory ingredient in tumeric which they eat in abundance in their curries and drink tumeric milk when they aren't feeling well. They like ginger which is anti-inflammatory anyway.
There really isn't any dementia in my family that I know of, but I eat a lot of curry and drink tumeric tea/water every now and then anyway because it's just such a good food to include in a vegan diet.
Also, you can't discount the healing properties of foods high in anti-oxidants like vit c, which vegans get in abundance. It would be very hard to convince me that this doesn't help fight against Alz./Dementia.
The human body, which is made up of between 55 and 75 percent water, Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don't have enough water in your body to carry on normal functions....