Dietary Strategies — Protect Yourself from Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s disease has become nothing short of epidemic in the US. Could it be that some commonly eaten foods are the primary culprit? According to neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter, author of the book Grain Brain, your diet has major implications for your Alzheimer’s risk.
Grain Brain has been on the New York Times Best Seller list for six months now, which is unusual for a health book. He has also been on a few PBS specials. Dr. Perlmutter is also the editor-in-chief of a brand new Harvard-based journal called Brain and Gut, slated to come out next year.
According to Dr. Perlmutter, the evidence clearly shows that high-carb diets and elevation of blood sugar is directly related to shrinkage of your brain’s memory center. And when your hippocampus—your memory center—shrinks, your memory declines.
“That is the harbinger for Alzheimer’s disease,” Dr. Perlmutter says. “It’s the first place you look on a brain scan. But here is why we’re having this conversation today: (1) it is preventable and (2) more importantly, it’s reversible.”
Saturated Fats Are a Critical Part of a Heart- and Brain-Healthy Diet
Like myself, Dr. Perlmutter has been talking about the benefits of saturated fatfor a long time. Conversely, for well over half a century, the media and a majority of health care officials have warned that saturated fats are bad for your health and lead to a host of negative consequences, including high cholesterol, obesity, and heart disease.
There’s little doubt that this wholly inappropriate fat phobia has had a lot to do with our burgeoning Alzheimer’s epidemic. Fortunately, the importance of these healthy fats is starting to become more widely recognized. One of the largest meta-analyses1, 2, 3 to date, included data from more than 600,000 people from 18 countries.
The study concluded that current evidence does NOT support guidelines that encourage low consumption of saturated fat for heart health. Saturated fats, which have the longest history of being (wrongfully) demonized, were in fact found to have NO adverse effect on heart disease risk.
“We’ve been led down the wrong road,” Dr. Perlmutter says. “[Saturated] fat is your friend. You desperately need fat. You desperately need to have good cholesterol in your body. That war on cholesterol is a perversion of the science that was even used to tell us we should stop eating foods with cholesterol…
We know quite well that in elderly individuals, for example, those in the highest level of blood cholesterol have about a 70 percent risk reduction for becoming demented. These are the things that are good for the heart. They’re good for the immune system. Cholesterol is the precursor of vitamin D, progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, and cortisol…This is probably one of the reasons why statin drugs are so damaging.
You lower cholesterol, and you set the stage for things that are very, very worrisome.”
Diabetes Doubles Your Risk of Alzheimer’s
Dr. Perlmutter cites a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, which found that women who are given cholesterol-lowering statin medication have a 44 percent increased risk for becoming a type 2 diabetic. Diabetes, in turn, doubles your risk for Alzheimer’s disease.