It is estimated that up to 5.1 million people in the US alone may have Alzheimer’s disease at this time. An Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be devastating for a patient, their friends, and their family members. While there is no cure for the disease, there are several foods that can significantly increase the risk of Alzheimer’s .

3 foods that significantly increase your risk of Alzheimer’s

By limiting these foods in your diet, you may be able to reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

1. Red meat

Red meat is rich in iron, which your body needs to avoid anemia, chronic fatigue, and weak muscles. However, too much iron can end up causing too many free radical damage in the body. When iron builds up in the brain, it fills up as the area known as “gray matter.”

This is a part of the brain that shows one of the first signs of degeneration as we age. Too much iron in this area can speed up the aging process. It may not be necessary to cut out all red meat from your diet, but limiting your intake and choosing the best quality, grass-fed beef can help.

2. Refined carbohydrates and sugars

In a 2012 study, researchers found that people age 70 and older who ate a carbohydrate-heavy diet were nearly four times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those who ate a healthier diet. Carbohydrates are often loaded with sugar. They increase glucose and insulin levels in the body, causing blood sugar to rise.

A long-term, carbohydrate-heavy diet can end up leading to insulin resistance over time. If your body begins to ignore insulin, your pancreas will compensate by producing even more. High levels of insulin can end up damaging the blood vessels in the brain, causing memory problems. In Alzheimer’s patients, parts of the brain become resistant to insulin.

3. Advanced Glycation End Products (AGE)

AGE stands for Advanced Glycation End Products – chemicals found naturally in our bodies and in some foods. AGEs have been linked to diabetes and poor cardiovascular health. Scientists are now realizing that, they could also play a role in brain shrinkage.

In a 2014 study, researchers examined the role of AGEs in animal study subjects. They found that those who were eating the least amount of AGEs experienced better cognitive function. A similar study was conducted in human participants. When the researchers studied the diets of 90 healthy people 60 years of age and older, they found that those who ate diets with these products (AGEs) showed brain decline over the course of the nine-month study. AGE’s foods include red meat, cheese, cream, butter, and processed grains.

Foods that help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s

Research has shown that a Mediterranean diet can help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Emphasize fresh fruits and vegetables, wild seafood, poultry, nuts, and olive oil in your diet. The Mediterranean diet is full of great foods for keeping your brain sharp, such as healthy fats. The omega-3 fatty acids in these foods play an important role in brain health because they slow down the aging process.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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