More every day, people are living with dementia. Yet, more every day, there is evidence dementia does not have to take you down.
According to experts, there is a direct correlation to the amount of inflammation one has with their risk of being diagnosed with dementia.
Is Inflammation a Part of Aging?
Many people over the age of 50 have dealt with inflammation, often first noticing simple joint pain.
Experiencing everything from joint pain, fatigue, stiffness, weight gain, puffiness, gastronomical issues, a compromised immune system and brain fog, some wonder if there is anything they can do other than deal with it or take medication.
Inflammation is more prevalent by the day. A great many people have resigned themselves to inflammation being a part of getting older.
“It’s just part of aging,” people sigh as they search out a prescription drug to fix them.
There are plenty of drugs on the market designed to address inflammation, but these drugs simply mask the problem, failing to get to the root cause.
In addition, the side effects of the drugs often cause more problems than they solve.
My Own Experience with Inflammation
In 2018, at the age of 64, I was slowing down due to aches and pains in my joints, primarily in my wrists.
I was active, but noticed my energy got zapped from a simple run.
My research revealed that consumption of animal and dairy products could very well be the primary reason my inflammation was getting worse by the day.
Due to what I discovered, I made a life changing decision to give up all animal and dairy in my diet. I was willing to try this for seven days to see if there was any improvement.
Little did I know how impactful this one decision would be. Within two days, there was a marked improvement in how I felt. I noticed my recovery time was shorter, I didn’t have the afternoon energy slump I had grown used to and my ability to focus on tasks significantly improved.
What I discovered was not only shocking, but it was also enlightening.
In addition to aches and pains caused by what we eat, I learned that if I continued the eating path I was on, I was setting myself up for possible cognitive decline as I age.
Some inflammation is common to everyone. Without inflammation wound or infection would never heal. Where the problem resides is when inflammation is acute and chronic.
Yet, like most people, I had no idea that dementia is directly linked to inflammation.
“Recent research has found that inflammation can cause several of the most frequent dementias and can increase others. In fact, the new understanding of inflammation makes a direct link in the previously mysterious relation of amyloid plaques and tau neurofibrillary tangles — the two hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.”
It is estimated that 47 million people worldwide are living with dementia. Further, dementia is the leading cause of dependance and disability.
Common conditions and symptoms that persons with dementia often experience.
- Severe agitation
With our aging population, the number of people living with dementia is projected to triple in the next 30 years. The socioeconomic burden of dementia is estimated to increase accordingly.
When you figure in healthcare costs, caregiving costs and loss of time on the job for family member caregivers, the economic burden is staggering.
The “REAL” Great Resignation is Not About a Job
Many people have resigned themselves to the fact there is not much they can do about the aging process as well as what have become very common diseases.
Big Pharma spends millions in advertising to convince us to take the latest and greatest “magic pill” to “fix” the problem.
The problem with this solution is prescription drugs don’t fix the problem. And, the side effects of the drugs are often as bad, if not worse, than the problem we are trying to fix.
More than popping a pill, people need to look at lifestyle changes and the foods they consume as the possible cause, and solution, to dementia.
With a direct correlation between inflammation and the decline in cognitive behavior, one of the best choices you can make is in your diet.
Foods that Cause Dementia
- White foods
- Processed sugar
- Processed meat
- Processed cheese
- Refined carbohydrates
- Trans fats
- Highly processed foods
- Fish with mercury
When I decided to write this post, I turned to two colleagues who have made it their life’s work to raise awareness about the causes, and solutions, to dementia and brain health.
Kate is an Amen Certified Brain Health Professional and Licensed Brain Trainer, helping people around the world improve their brains with a whole foods, Plant-Based lifestyle, exercise, mindfulness, and music.
She is the author of several books including The Vegan Brain, Plant Lovers Guide, Don’t Let the Memories Fade and The Musical Brain.
The following is an excerpt from her book, The Vegan Brain.
Inflammation and the Brain
Chronic inflammation is shown to lead to development of late-life cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s Disease, and other forms of dementia.
Many foods can lead to inflammation, and many of those foods are in what many call the “Standard American Diet” – but I call it the Standard Alzheimer’s Diet.
Artificial trans fats are a primary source of inflammation. They’re listed as “partially hydrogenated” oils on the package. French fries and other fried fast food, many margarines and vegetable shortenings, packaged cookies and cakes and some pastries, are sources.
Vegetable oil’s high omega-6 fatty acid content is also connected to inflammation. These vegetable oils include soy and corn. Since both of those are also usually genetically modified crops, they present a double risk for inflammation.
Refined Carbs and Sugar
It’s a no-brainer (excuse the pun): refined sugars including high fructose corn syrup, are a huge source of physical and emotional. Many studies link refined sugars to inflammation in the brain, which leads to dementia and Alzheimer’s. They also contribute to obesity and diabetes, which can also lead to Alzheimer’s.
High-fiber, unprocessed carbs are generally healthy, but refined carbs raise blood sugar levels and promote inflammation.
Besides turning into sugar in your body very quickly, refined carbs have also had most of their fiber removed. Fiber feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut; the lack of fiber leads to the growth of inflammatory gut bacteria that can increase your risk of obesity and inflammatory bowel disease. Refined carbs can also increase the permeability of the intestines, sometimes called “leaky gut”, which itself promotes inflammation.
Dairy and Meat
Grain-fed animals produce meat and dairy products that are very high in inflammation-producing omega 6 fats. At the same time, they are deficient in the all-important brain-friendly omega 3 fats.
These poor animals are also mostly fed products that are genetically modified and drenched in pesticides, which are also connected to inflammation, because they lead to leaky gut.
Dairy intake reduces the abundance and the diversity of the gut microbiota. That is especially true of pasteurized milk products, which is basically all dairy in a western grocery store. A healthy gut microbiome is the first and most powerful defense against leaky gut, so that’s one reason to avoid dairy.
However, dairy itself is also inflammatory, because it has proteins and sugars that the human body is simply not equipped to process. It can contribute to a leaky gut for that reason as well.
Many diet and brain health gurus encourage you to eat the meat of free-range beef or turkey, or chicken or pigs raised in “humane” conditions, who are “grass-fed.” But I disagree. Firstly, there is nothing humane about killing anything, and secondly, your brain is much better off without these products.
All meat causes inflammation, partly because we cannot digest it properly and partly because of the acids it produces in the human body.
Methionine, which is an amino acid found in meat, causes increased oxidative stress in the body, resulting in inflammation and reduced heart strength. Eating meat also leads to higher levels of arachidonic acid, which promotes inflammation and aging.
Fish, eggs, beef, and cheese also create a larger insulin responses per gram than many carbohydrate foods.
Get your own copy of The Vegan Brain https://amzn.to/3gsoDD7
To learn more about Kate Kunkel visit https://katekunkel.com/
Another expert I turned to is Alexi Bracey
Alexi was the Executive Chef at Grail Springs Wellness Spa (Canada’s only environmental Detox Spa). Alexi successfully introduced the alkaline diet, macrobiotic diet, juicing and a Living Food diet to complement the detox programs to the SPA clients. Clients still rave about the food and were appreciative of the healthy lifestyles inspired through Alexi’s seminars and cooking classes.
Alexi also holds accreditation in Coaching, Hypnotherapy, Master NLP Trainer and Public Speaking. She has appeared on television and radio programs. In addition, she has contributed articles to health magazines.
Here’s what Alexi says about dementia.
Currently, dementia is in epidemic proportions. Women are three times more prone to being diagnosed with dementia than women.
A huge factor with the increase is agrochemicals. These are chemicals used in agriculture, such as a pesticide or a fertilizer. They are sprayed on our food by farmers.
The worst culprit is glyphosate, which is the active ingredient found in Monsanto’s roundup.
Glyphosate is one of the world’s most common herbicides. It’s the active ingredient in popular weed-control products like Roundup, Rodeo, and Pondmaster. Many farmers use it during food production.
Not only is glyphosate shown to be carcinogenic, but it also impairs your digestion, which impairs your sleep. If we don’t get enough sleep, which is when your brain detoxifies, the brain is not focusing properly.
The combination of all that is going on with our food supply is causing inflammation throughout the body.
Inflammation in the brain is dementia. Inflammation in your bones is arthritis. Inflammation in your heart is heart disease.
Dementia is on the increase due to living in a much more toxic environment then we did as recently as 30 years ago.
The Miracle Diet
Will changing your diet guarantee you won’t get dementia? No. But eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, and healthy fats increases your chances of staying sharp for as long as you live.
Not only do you give your brain a fighting chance, but you will also have more energy, vitality and joy.
After all, isn’t that what most people want? A life of fulfillment.
30 Day Invitation to a Healthier You
Switching to a Plant-Based diet, void of all animal and dairy is counter to what most of us were raised to believe is healthy. After all, where do we get protein from if we don’t consume animal and dairy?
According to the beef, fish, and poultry councils, we NEED to consume meat, chicken, and fish. If we don’t, our health will suffer.
Wait! Could it be they have lied to us? Yes! We have been lied to… over and over.
A quick look around on your next grocery store visit indicates something is off with our health. The number of people struggling push their cart from aisle to aisle tells a different story than what the food manufacturers would have us believe.
There are more people dealing with obesity, walking with canes due to pressure on their joints, riding in motorized carts, while filling their carts primarily with processed foods, meats, milk, and cheese.
Rather than take my word for it, why not put it to the test. For 30-days, go on a 100% whole food, Plant-Based diet.
An excellent book that outlines exactly how to eat is Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman.
I can promise you this, when you give it 100%, and I do mean 100%, you will likely be blown away by the results.
Keep in mind, your body will detox for the first few days. After all, if you consume a highly processed diet filled with fast food bacon cheese burgers, boxed and canned foods, chips, sodas, and booze, your body is going to resist the healthy choices.
Stick with it. You’re worth it.