Brain gain: Diet plan to avoid Alzheimer's

  • Kavita Devgan, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Sep 25, 2014 18:20 IST

Alzheimer's is a serious threat to one's well-being and deserves attention.

As September marks the World Alzheimer's month, it would be a good idea to know ways of alleviating the causes of the ailment.

Dr Rakesh Singh, consultant neurologist, SL Raheja Fortis Hospital, Mahim, says, "Although there is no cure for this disease yet, research shows that making smart lifestyle changes like regular exercise, intellectual stimulation, keeping a check on stress, leading an active social life, and most importantly, being careful about what you eat can have a far reaching impact on how our brain fares as we get older."

There are many changes that you can bring about in your diet that can save your brain from this debilitating disease.

Also read: World Alzheimer's Day: Four signs to watch out for

The red bonanza
There are enough reasons to love pomegranate - it comprises plenty of antioxidants and immunity boosting vitamin C, and heart-friendly properties. A recent study by the researchers from the University of Huddersfield, UK, suggests that pomegranate has a miracle antioxidant compound, punicalagin, which can prevent Alzheimer's, and can also slow down its onset and progression. Make the most of it: Chomp on it or have it in the form of juice. It can also be added to couscous, raita and salad.

Also read: 3D brain view may help treat Alzheimer's, Parkinson's

Zero in on zinc
Zinc is one of the most important minerals that our body needs. And, recent researches suggest that it contributes to our brains' health too. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), Chicago, USA, in July this year, has pointed out that low levels of zinc have been found in people suffering from Alzheimer's.

Also, scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA, had discovered last year that shortage of zinc led to defective proteins clumping together in the brain, contributing to the disease. So, food rich in zinc is a must for good brain health. Make the most of it: Chicken and turkey are good sources of zinc. Vegetarians can get it from almonds, peanuts, pine nuts, cashews, and sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

Also read: Study paves way for simple blood test to predict Alzheimer’s

A beneficial bark
"Cinnamon is a wonder spice that should be consumed to keep Alzheimer's at bay," says Dr Singh.

In a study published last year in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara, USA, reported that certain compounds in cinnamon can help inhibit the function and formation of the tau proteins that are associated with Alzheimer's. Make the most of it: Sprinkle a bit in your first cup of tea in the morning or on your oats or toast during breakfast. It's great over puddings as well as pies.

Yellow pill
Turmeric is a panacea for the brain. Comprehensive summaries of studies on turmeric published by ethnobotanist James A Duke in the journal Alternative and Complementary Therapies indicate that extracts of the spice contain a number of natural agents that block the formation of betaamyloid.

"It is a sticky protein that slowly forms plaques and clogs the neurons [thus preventing them from communicating], and obstructs cerebral function thus contributing to Alzheimer's," explains Dr Singh. So, turmeric in your diet is a great idea to help keep Alzheimer's at bay. Make the most of it: Add a bit to all your curries. Also, add 1/4th tsp to warm milk and have it at bedtime once in a while.

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