Did you know that someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease about every 69 seconds? Or that approximately 23% of people over 65 are already suffering from some type of cognitive impairment?
And don’t think that just because you’re in the prime of your life that you’re safe. Because it’s estimated that 200,000 Americans under 65 suffer from Alzheimer’s disease – or some form of dementia.1
Unfortunately, while the medical community doesn’t have a cure just yet, we do know that what you eat has a significant impact on your risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
In fact, diet happens to be one of the most effective natural treatments available for those suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease and other brain related issues.
Your diet plays a significant role in your level of risk.
And according to a new study the standard American diet also called (SAD) may be to blame for the high rate of Alzheimer’s in the United States, primarily due to its high meat content.2
This study found that when compared to nine other countries including, Brazil, Chile, Cuba and Mongolia, people in the U.S. have a 4 percent greater chance of developing Alzheimer’s.
When Japan’s dietary habits shifted towards a more American style diet, Alzheimer’s rate skyrocketed and so did their weight. The risk for developing Alzheimer’s in Japan went from 1% in 1985 to a whopping 7% in 2008.
And with the scientific community’s new focus on diet it’s become evident that changing your diet may be the most effective strategy for preventing Alzheimer’s or at the very least delaying its onset.
Your diet matters, and what you eat is just as important as what you don’t eat.
However, one specific food has emerged as a significant risk factor in the development of Alzheimer’s and if you eat too much of it you could find yourself on the express train to cognitive decline.
There are very few meat eaters that don’t like a good steak or juicy hamburger, but according to new research eating too much red meat may increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s.3
Eat This…Get Alzheimer’s?
That’s right, according to researchers from UCLA as reported in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease eating too much red meat can raise the levels of iron in your brain, which in turn increases your risk of Alzheimer’s due to excessive free radical damage.
Red meat is very high in iron, and while your body needs to get enough iron to avoid things like anemia, chronic fatigue and muscle weakness, getting too much can be detrimental.
As iron levels build up in the brain, it accumulates in the grey matter.
Grey matter is the cortex of the brain, this area is responsible for muscle control, memory, emotions, speech, decision-making, self-control and sensory perception.
It’s also one of the first areas to show signs of degeneration as you get older.
And a buildup of iron in the grey matter can accelerate the process even more.
This doesn’t mean you can’t have your red meat and certainly doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to hamburgers and steaks. Instead it means you should be more mindful of how much you’re eating. It also means that when you do eat red meat you choose high quality grass fed beef instead of commercial meats.
There’s also another reason you may want to limit your intake of red meat…
Harmful Chemicals Spike Alzheimer’s Risk
While getting old can certainly increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s there’s another kind of AGE doctors are concerned about. AGEs also known as advanced glycation end products are chemicals found in nature and in our bodies. You’ll also find them in certain foods.
In the past, scientists linked foods high in AGEs to an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular problems. Now it seems they also play a starring role in accelerating cognitive decline.
When foods are identified as increasing your Alzheimer’s risk…they’re also typically high in AGEs.
In an animal study looking at how AGEs affect the aging process in mice, researchers found that animals fed a diet containing the lowest amount of AGEs enjoyed better brain health.4
They then turned their attention to the effects of AGEs on humans. They looked at the diets of healthy individuals and compared them with the diets of older test subjects. What they found was that test subjects with the highest level of AGEs showed the most cognitive decline over the course of the nine-month study.
Keep in mind that all foods contain some levels of AGEs. However, meat, cheeses and animal fats contain the most.
That being said, there’s one more thing to keep in mind when eating red meat.
How You Cook Your Meat Can
Determine Its Alzheimer’s Risk
AGE production tends to increase with heat and the way you cook your meat matters more than you think, especially when you’re trying to avoid AGEs and lower your Alzheimer’s risk.
For example, when you grill or fry your meat you speed up the production of AGEs.
Just look at raw chicken for example. It starts with an AGE level of 800, when it’s fried it goes to over 8000.5
Instead of frying your meat or using a high heat grill try stewing, poaching, braising or pan grilling your meat on the stove.
If there was one food I’d recommend you stay away from, especially if your goal is to protect your brain it would be a traditional low-quality commercial steak with cheap, store bought marinade, charred on the grill.
This single food item contains all of the Alzheimer’s risk factor boosting elements all in one meal. Farm raised low quality meat, commercial marinade loaded with sugar and AGE boosting high heat grilling. It’s a brain disaster waiting to happen.
If you do like the occasional grilled steak, always use grass-fed, organic beef, a homemade marinade using vinegar and herbs and slow cook it on medium heat. This will keep AGE production to a minimum.
Here’s How Eat To Lower
Your Alzheimer’s Risk
Preventing Alzheimer’s isn’t all about what you don’t eat. There’s also a lot of things you should be eating too if you want to lower your risk.
For example, the Mediterranean diet has been shown to be very effective in helping to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. Due to its emphasis on fresh fruits, vegetables, wild-caught seafood, poultry, nuts, olive oil, light dairy and red meat in moderation.
The research is becoming abundantly clear, your diet is crucial when it comes to lowering your risk of Alzheimer’s.
So, while there is no cure for Alzheimer’s…you can significantly lower your risk by following a few simple dietary tricks. The rest is up to you.