Did you know that there is growing evidence that Alzheimer’s disease is simply another manifestation of cardiovascular disease? We know that eating a cheeseburger may not be in the best interest of our waistlines and cholesterol levels. But what about your brain? Can you prevent Alzheimer’s disease – or hasten it along – with what you eat?
Are You At Risk?
According to the Alzheimer’s Association
- Almost two-thirds of Alzheimer’s cases in America are women
- Less than 1% of Alzheimer’s cases are caused by a genetic mutation
- Although having an immediate family member increases the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s, it is now believed that shared environmental factors (family diet and lifestyle influences) play a larger role.
- A staggering one in nine Americans over age 65 will develop Alzheimer’s, making Baby Boomers more likely than their parents to develop the disease.
The Plaque Connection
Lining your arteries is a layer of cells – the endothelium – whose job it is to regulate blood flow by expanding and contracting your arteries by dispensing your body’s own built-in heart medicine, nitric oxide. When you consume animal protein, saturated fats, oils and dairy products, plaques form in your arteries that prevent nitric oxide from getting in and keeping arteries dilated. This causes the vessels to narrow, which is made worse by more plaques. This is how heart disease develops.
This process affects your brain, too. In 2010, researchers at the Mayo Clinic published a study showing that when nitric oxide levels are reduced, amyloidal precursor proteins are increased. Amyloidal plaques are found in the brains of people who have Alzheimer’s Disease.
Protect Yourself – Healthy Heart, Healthy Brain
Good news: inheriting the “Alzheimer’s gene” – APOE – does not necessarily mean that you will develop the disease. Environment – diet and lifestyle – are more important. Your genes are not your destiny!
So be kind to your endothelium. When your arteries are free of plaque, they can make sure your brain gets plenty of oxygen and nutrients, keeping the nitric oxide flowing. You cannot get that in a supplement! Eating a Gina-Approved, whole-food, plant-based diet, free of dairy and excess oils, and very limited in animal products is the best way to keep your endothelial cells functioning and free of plaque. For help in getting started, contact me.