BOOK SHARE – HOW NOT TO DIE, Michael Gregor MD
CHAPTER 3 – HOW NOT TO DIE FROM BRAIN DISEASES
I have just read this book and it has really made me stop and think about the food I eat.
In How Not to Die, Dr Michael Gregor examines the top causes of premature death for heart disease , cancers, diabetes and more – and explains how nutritional and lifestyle interventions can sometimes trump prescription pills and other pharmaceutical and surgical approaches, freeing us to enjoy better health.
It’s a very BIG book with a HUGE reference section. Every month I’m going to try and pick out the key points for each section and I highly recommend reading the book for yourself. Prevention is better than cure. I am not advising anyone to follow the suggestions in the book, i’m just passing on the information.
The two most serious brain diseases are stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. Most strokes can be thought of as “brain attacks” where blood flow to the brain is cut off. Alzheimer’s is more like a mind attack.
Mounting evidence suggests that a healthy diet can prevent both!
Sometimes blood clots last only a moment, not long enough to notice but they still kill off a tiny portion of the brain. These so-called silent strokes can multiply and slowly reduce cognitive function until full blown dementia develops.Stroke risk can be reduced by reducing cholesterol and blood pressure whilst improving blood flow and antioxidant capacity.FIBRE
A number of studies now show that fibre intake may also help ward off stroke. Fibre is naturally concentrated in whole plant foods.
Fibre helps control your cholesterol and blood sugar levels which can help reduce the artery-clogging plaque in your brains blood vessels. High fibre diets can also lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of brain bleeds.
Increasing fibre intake by just 7 grams a day is associated with a 7% risk reduction. It can be as easy as a bowl of oaty porridge with berries or a portion of baked beans.
Science suggests you can minimize stroke risk by eating:
25 daily grams a day of soluble fibre (found in beans, oats, nuts & berries)
47 daily grams of insoluble fibre (whole grains such as brown rice or whole wheat)
Every cell in your body requires potassium to function and you need to get it from your diet. Plants are the primary source of potassium in the body.
A 1,640mg increase per day in potassium intake has been associated with a 21% reduction in stroke risk.
Bananas have a reputation for providing potassium but they don’t actually contain that much. You’d have to eat a dozen bananas a day to get the bare minimum.
Good sources are greens, beans and sweet potatoes.
Citrus fruit intake has been associated with reduced stroke risk, even more than apples! Citrus contains a phytonutrient called hesperidin which appears to increase blood flow throughout the body, including the brain.
It also is meant to help with chronically cold hands, feet and toes – keeping them warmer.
7 or eight hours a night appears to be associated with the lowest risk of stroke.
ANTIOXIDANTS & STROKE
Antioxidant-rich foods may help prevent a stroke by preventing the circulation of oxidized fats in the bloodstream that can damage the sensitive walls of small blood vessels in the brain. They can also decrease artery stiffness, prevent blood clots from forming and lower blood pressure and inflammation.
Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices at every meal to continually flood your body with antioxidants.
Unfortunately, there is no cure or effective treatment for the disease. The good news is that it could be preventable. Diet and lifestyle changes could potentially prevent millions of cases a year. There is emerging consensus that “what is good for our hearts is good for our heads” because clogging of the arteries inside the brain with atherosclerotic plaque is thought to play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s.
Dietary decisions you make now may directly influence your health much later in life. It’s never too early to start eating healthier.The Mediterranean diet, which is higher in vegetables, beans, fruits and nuts and lower in meat and dairy products, has been associated with slower cognitive decline and lower risk of Alzheimer’s.Blueberries and strawberries have been shown to improve memory in older adults exhibiting early cognitive deterioration.
Fruit & vegetable juices may also be beneficial.
Saffron may also help as does exercise. Aerobic exercise can improve cerebral blood flow, improve memory performance and help preserve brain tissue.
Next time: HOW NOT TO DIE FROM DIGESTIVE CANCERS……….