The Best Foods & Holistic Defenses Against Dementia.

Our minds need to be challenged, stretched and kept in good shape in the same manner that we exercise to keep our physical bodies in shape and healthy. While there are brain strengthening techniques that exist and have been shown to be helpful in the area of memory decline, the right foods and herbs are necessary for the brain to even make the healing techniques come to reality. We are now living in a time where  early signs of dementia; which eventually erodes to full blown Alzheimer’s disease (if not kept in check before then) is rising at a high rate and it’s showing itself in people across cultural boundaries at younger ages. But the issue of brain and mind health is much more serious than its association with consistent forgetfulness; brain diseases are the 3rd leading causes of death in the United States; preceded only by cardio vascular diseases.

The key to getting a hold of and addressing symptoms related to dementia is to address it early with the right dietary and lifestyle patterns. Dementia has been associated with being a persistent disorder of mental functioning which is connected to major shifts in personality, chronic and dangerous forgetfulness and the inability to reason properly. The symptoms can have and usually do come with serious consequences if not dealt with properly. Even with these facts and statistics, there is hope and good news for those who are young and those who are in the early stages of experiencing symptoms of dementia: the right foods can make all the world of difference when it comes to memory loss prevention. We have to eat and live for health and wellness with the intention of keeping our minds sharp as possible. According to the research, some of the best foods to eat for this are the foods that contain high healing amounts of antioxidants as well as polyphenols. These are consistently found in almost all berries, cherries, all dark leafy green vegetables, cashews, almonds, cinnamon, sage, turmeric and cumin. What is fascinating about these foods is that they not only provide the body with the necessary micro-nutrients to keep your body fighting off excessive inflammation, some of the foods (as in the case of berries) actually cross the blood-brain barrier to provide protective benefits directly to the brain and to resist the build-up of plaque in the brain which may be a major culprit in slower brain functioning. The good news doesn’t stop there. It has been shown that just having a handful of berries every day may slow the brain’s aging by more than two years. If this is done with having at least one serving of the other above mentioned items: its healing prevention is increased even more. But what if someone has passed all the stages of dementia and has full blown Alzheimer’s disease? Are there any natural treatments at hand that can at least curb or slow the effects of it with little to no known side effects? Read below.

The Miracle of Saffron.

 Once someone has fully diagnosed Alzheimer’s, it can only be managed. Thus far there is no known cure for this disease. However in terms of management: in a 16 week study, Alzheimer’s patients with mild to moderate dementia who took saffron supplements seemed to have better brain functioning than those who didn’t or who were only taking placebos. Saffron contains a chemical compound known as crocin, which gives it its yellow pigment (*like curcumin within turmeric) which also crosses the blood-brain barrier to at least bring relief to try and lessen the full effects of Alzheimer’s. The good thing about saffron is that it is not known to cause side effects like nausea, vomiting, confusion and diarrhea that are known with taking some of the leading Alzheimer’s drugs on the market today.

Living Holistically.

In other words, this means paying attention to not only our dietary needs for good mental health. It also means paying attention to and attending to our physical movement and internal emotional states as well. This means:

  • Eating mindfully and selecting the best foods for our brains.
  • Taking steps to limit the amounts of excessively fried foods eaten; which have been known to encourage inflammation of the brain.
  • Getting regular amounts of meaningful physical exercise: 30 minutes a day.
  • Engaging in stress reduction activities like mediation, yoga and regular massage.
  • Reading every day and trying to learn a new fact every day.
  • Traveling and meeting new people from cultures different from ours.
  • Documenting and writing down major life events for future reference.

Perhaps, our brain is an organ that is often not thought of when it comes to health maintenance. But along with our hearts, livers, stomachs and lungs it is equally important to look after our brain health as well. These simple lifestyle changes are inexpensive, beneficial and only come with the side effects of better mental health, lighter moods, sharper focus and better memory retention. With continued health to you and you’re loved ones for a lifetime.

-Dr. Daud Scott-N.D; CHNP.

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