Humanity, I’ve got some serious piece of GOOD NEWS for you.
The kind that makes you deeply grateful for those brilliant minds out there, persevering, fighting the establishment, destroying the myths, dodging curve balls and coming out at the other end with life changing insights.
When you think of actual life threatening diseases, what’s the worst possible diagnostic you can think of?
A soul crushing condition that deletes your memories, robs you of joy and slowly but surely deprives you of all the things that make you human. And for which there’s no cure, no hope, just the certainty that it will only get worse until finally it’s lights out.
Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia. Cognitive decline. This is what I fear above anything else.
BREAKING NEWS: Alzheimer’s disease can be prevented and in many cases its associated cognitive decline can be reversed.
I’m going to say this again: you can prevent and in many cases reverse Alzheimer’s disease.
Fabulous news darling, but how does this have anything to do with food and fitness?
A lot, actually. Bear with me.
On his book The End of Alzheimer’s Dr Dale Bredesen shares the results of decades of research and for the first time in the history of medicine he recommends a programme to prevent and reverse cognitive decline.
I won’t get deep down into the scientific details (trust me, there’s plenty of that!). Instead I’ll zoom in directly on what you can do NOW to make sure that brain of yours is in top shape to live a long, healthy life, packed with the good stuff.
People, I must confess I’m a bit scared about dissecting this book.
I have the best intentions at heart so if I step my foot wrong trying to simplify things (you know how I love to do that), you’ll know it’s for the greater good. I’m willing to take it in the chin to get the message out there.
One of the things I love the most about The End of Alzheimer’s is how it advocates an holistic approach to health.
Guess what, there’s not one single pill that fixes Alzheimer’s. But as big fan of functional medicine principles, that totally resonates: fix the underlying problem(s), not the symptoms, guys.
In fact you’ll see that many of the diet recommendations here are similar to those from functional medicine rockstar Dr Mark Hyman – see my exclusive interview here.
You know how I go on and on about how food is medicine. But now we’re talking waaaay beyond a glowing skin or happy gut. This is talking next level food-awesomeness.
So I ‘ll focus on my favourite part of the book: food and its role in preventing and reversing cognitive decline.
Meet the Fit Brain Food regime, the Anti Alzheimer’s Diet: Ketoflex 12/3
1. “Keto” is for ketosis
Ketosis is a beautiful process through which (and I quote) “your liver produces specific chemicals called ketone bodies by breaking down fat”.
Mild ketosis is great for cognitive function. Ketosis occurs when your body is running low on carbs. So you want to follow a low carb, low sugar diet (sugar is just another name for carbs). Avoid the white carbs and anything with refined sugar. And do fast – which leads me to the next point:
2. “12/3” is for fasting
Fast for at least 12 hours between your last meal of the night and your first meal the next morning. 3 is the number of hours between your last meal and bedtime. Gives your body a proper break to get into that beautiful ketosis mode.
I’ve been giving it a go and it really helps with my mind’s focus and gut moves (!); those figure hugging leggings also feel that bit more comfy. Bad news for that late night chocolate cake with Netflix though :(. No free lunches peeps.
3. “Flex” is for flexitarian
A flexitarian diet is the best to prevent and reverse Alzheimer’s. Eat mostly plant-based, specially non starchy ones. So add lots of veggies to your meals, both cooked and raw. You can also have good quality meat, fish and eggs but see them as a side, not the star of the meals.
Now that you got the principles of the Anti-Alzheimer’s diet, let’s get into some more specifics.
4. Choose foods with a low Glycaemic Index . Below 35 is best. Think more broccoli, less mango. Also stay away from fruit juices (all the sugar and no fibre!).
5. Avoid simple carbs, saturated fats and foods low in fibre. Surprise, surprise, Big Mac and fries are a no-no (also known as “dementogens”!)
6. Avoid gluten and dairy. They can damage your gut lining, cause inflammation and leaky gut. Leaky gut = leaky brain.
7. Eat good fats. These include nuts, seeds, olive oil and avocado. Avos, you’re still my besties. Phew.
8. Say no to processed foods. Whole foods are the way to go. If it lists ingredients, it’s processed. An apple has no ingredient list. The food IS the ingredient.
9. Reduce toxins by eating specific detoxifying plants. Cruciferous vegetables, artichokes, beets and avocados (yes, again thank you very much), just to name a few.
10. Add prebiotic and probiotic foods to the menu. Tending to a happy gut is part of the plan. Feed your bacteria with the good stuff (prebiotics) and top up the little soldiers army with probiotic foods. My favourites are kefir and sauerkraut.
People, I’m only scratching the surface here. This is just a small sample of the extraordinary content you can find in The End of Alzheimer’s. Find detailed tests you have to run, all the geeky science (love, love) and lots more recommendations including exercise, sleep, stress and stress management.
I can’t have enough of it: you CAN prevent and in many cases reverse Alzheimer’s disease.
Excited about how small lifestyle changes can have a huge impact on your health? I am. The End of Alzheimer’s is a book everyone, everyone should read. Whether you have someone close to you who suffers from cognitive decline or just to start prevention now. It’s never too early.
A final, huge thank you to Dr Dale Bredesen and his team, for breaking the Alzheimer’s treatment rule book and bringing back hope and joy to so many families. You’re amazing.
Absolutely, totally buy the book now (in case you missed all the links before because you were too busy reading, obvs.): The End of Alzheimer’s .
Sending you very happy vibes indeed, people.
Ps. Again, I’m not a doctor, just someone obsessed with a healthy lifestyle who tries to keep up with the latest research. For advice on Alzheimer’s obviously see you doctor.