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What Is the Connection between Alzheimer's and Diet?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 October 2017
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Some medical practitioners and researchers argue that there are potential connections between Alzheimer’s and diet that should be taken into consideration by those with the disease, or who are at risk of it. Some studies to suggest that eating certain foods in large amounts may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases. There is also research which supports the idea that other foods may help lower the risk, and even help to reduce its symptoms by slowing the rate of degeneration. Of course, a thorough examination of available research and supervision of one's personal doctor should guide patients and patient families in this regard.

One of the connections believed to exist between Alzheimer’s and diet is the effect of certain foods, such as sugars, fats, and carbohydrates, on the development of the disease. While some argue that saturated fats and trans fats may contribute to brain degeneration and dementia; others argue that regular consumption of healthy and natural fats, such as those found in nuts, my reduce the risk of, or slow down the development of Alzheimer's. Similarly, some researchers and medical practitioners believe that over-consumption of carbohydrates and sugars may increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. They argue that those who already suffer from chronic metabolic disorders, such as insulin-resistance (diabetes), need to pay additional attention to a balanced and healthy diet due to this connection between diet and dementia.

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Some medical practitioners argue that a general rule of thumb is that if something is good for the heart, then it's probably also good for preventing Alzheimer’s. Foods which have shown to increase brain health include those containing omega-3 fatty acids, also referred to as “good” cholesterol. Some research even suggests that omega-3 fatty acids may help to rebuild brain tissue, and is also effective in treating depression and anxiety by increasing healthy brain cells.

Despite these general recommendations to reduce sugar and carbohydrates while increased healthy fats in one's diet, there is no particular diet recommended for Alzheimer’s patients. Since it generally occurs in the elderly, the same healthy eating practices recommended for all senior citizens is recommended for those with Alzheimer’s. This includes eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, goods fats, complex carbohydrates, and limited sugar.

It is always beneficial for those with family members who experience diseases of dementia and who feel that they may be at risk of these conditions themselves, to research factors that are believed to impact Alzheimer's. New studies regarding preventing and treating dementia emerge regularly. It is important to keep in mind that understanding of these conditions is still a work in progress and there is no one single right answer. Therefore, new treatment regimens and diets should be carried out with the approval and supervision of experts and family doctors who are familiar with a patient's medical history.

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